Myrtle and Rose- the title taken from the Heinrich Heine poem which Robert Schumann set as the final song of his Liederkreis, Op. 24- features two of Robert Schumann’s most beloved song cycles (the other being Liederkreis, Op. 39) along with several rarely-recorded songs by his wife Clara. The album beautifully captures the artistic partnership of tenor Kyle Stegall and fortepianist Eric Zivian, who first collaborated at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival in Sonoma, California. Stegall’s “lovely tone and ardent expression” (The New York Times) and Eric Zivian’s original 1841 Rausch fortepiano from Vienna- built exactly when the songs were written- combine in these inspired and illuminating interpretations. “a gentle tone that melted theRead more hearts of all” (OperaWire) “the last word in low key virtuosity” (San Francisco Classical Voice)
This little recording has a great deal worth recommending. The gentle singing of tenor Kyle Stegall and the circumspect but active accompaniment by Eric Zivian are strong points. The program is elegant. The real star of the show, however, is not Stegall or Zivian, but Zivian's period piano, an 1841 instrument by the Viennese builder Franz Rausch. Many historical performances featuring pianos from this period use French or English models, and the name of Rausch is not much known. However, it fits this music admirably, producing a subtle, silvery tone that brings out the poetry without retreating into the background. Continuing credit to the Avie label for uncovering distinctive little-known performers.