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Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition Vol 4 - Heliopolis

Schubert / Goerne
Release Date: 12/08/2009 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902035  
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias GoerneIngo Metzmacher
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUBERT Die Götter Griechenlands. Philoktet. Fragment aus dem Aischylos. Die entsühnte Orest. Aus Heliopolis. Heliopolis. And die Leier. Atys. Meerstille. Der König in Thule. Blondel zu Marien. Die gebüsche. Der Hirt. Pilgerweise. Wandrers Nachtlied. Frühlingsglaube. Das Heimweh. Der Kreuzzug. Abschied Matthias Goerne (bar); Ingo Metzmacher (pn) HARMONIA MUNDI 902035 (71:53) k


k The Making of the Read more Recording (DVD 17:39)


This is the latest installment of the Matthias Goerne Edition, a project that will likely contain hundreds of Schubert’s songs performed by Goerne with different pianists. Its title, Heliopolis , is taken from two songs that describe a mythical city of the sun, a symbol of bliss and renewal. The idea of the Goerne Edition seems to be to create an archive of Schubert’s songs grouped by subject and mood rather than chronology or poet.


The 19 songs offered here divide into two groups. The first eight songs concern Greek antiquity and they overlap with Thomas Hampson’s Songs of Antiquity volume in Graham Johnson’s complete Schubert song survey on Hyperion. Schubert’s settings of texts concerning ancient Greece make up a large proportion of his songs, with only settings of Goethe texts constituting a larger group.


The powerful opening song, “The Gods of Greece,” to a Schiller text, invokes the beauties of a vanished world, and Goerne’s performance of it is passionate and stirring. Its opening line, “Alas, only in the enchanted land of song do your fabled vestiges live on,” sets the tone for the whole program. (Schubert used the portentous chords of the song’s opening at the start of the A-Minor String Quartet’s gloomy minuet). The next several songs (“Philoctetes,” “Fragment from Aeschylus,” “Orestes Purified,” and the two “Heliopoli”) often feel like dramatic monologues, more recitative than song. Goerne sees them as psychological studies, making the observation that Schubert’s songs concerning antiquity are never composed “from the outside” but are products of inner emotional identification. Goerne’s delivery alternates between two modes in these songs: impassioned defiance in the extroverted passages and soulful reverie in the lyrical ones.


The placid “Meerstille,” set to a Goethe text, divides the program’s first section from its second. The 10 songs that follow are less unified by subject matter than the opening group, but their poetry shares a medieval motif and a preoccupation with melancholy emotional states (loss, rejection, loneliness). “Frühingsglaube,” the best-known song on the disc, seems strategically placed within a series of sad songs and its comforting, strophic, major-key melody is a balm. Goerne’s exquisite performance emphasizes its yearning. The last three songs each use thwarted journeys as a metaphor for resignation to one’s fate. The final “Abschied” (“Ah, how it grieves the heart to part, to leave what we love”) is almost unbearably touching at the dirge-like tempo taken here.


Matthias Goerne has emerged as perhaps the finest German male singer currently specializing in Schubert Lieder. His interpretations are deep, reflective, and unaffected. His dark baritone is on the low side, but he also has a strong and ringing upper register. The sound is always attractive and evenly produced with fine legato. Ingo Metzmacher, a conductor with a very active career, is a careful, precise, and sometimes understated pianist. His playing is extremely gentle when called for and the quality of his Steinway’s treble register is particularly clear and focused.


The seriousness of Goerne’s approach is borne out by the bonus feature, a short DVD about the making of the CD. The baritone knows exactly what he wants from the obliging Metzmacher in “Frühlingsglaube” but doesn’t get it at first. The producer in the control booth reverently conducts from his score and the engineer quietly listens with the devotion of medieval scribes.


If Goerne has an interpretive Achilles heel, it may be that a tendency toward humorlessness limits his expressive range. (His teacher, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, was able to communicate humor and lightness in his singing along with pathos and profundity.) But that isn’t a problem in the songs offered on Heliopolis , which are among Schubert’s most serious and contemplative. As the disc progresses, its sequence of songs, with their extreme emotional intensity and generally slow to moderate tempos, lacks the variety that would make Heliopolis a recital that one would want to listen to from start to finish. Savored a few songs at a time, it is extremely satisfying, particularly to grow acquainted with rarely heard songs like “Die Gebüsche,” Schubert’s setting of the Friedrich von Schlegel poem whose third stanza Schumann transcribed at the start of the Fantasy, op. 17: “Through all the notes in the earth’s many-colored dream/One soft note continues to resound for him who secretly listens.”


When the Goerne Edition is complete, it will stand with Fischer-Dieskau’s traversal of the songs and Graham Johnson’s Hyperion anthology as a great monument to the most important and still far from fully appreciated part of Schubert’s output. The reverberant recorded sound flatters Goerne’s voice.


FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Die Götter Griechenlands, D 677 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Philoktet, D 540 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Fragment aus dem Aeschylus, D 450 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Der entsühnte Orest, D 699 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Heliopolis no 1, D 753/Op. 65 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Heliopolis no 2, D 754 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
7.
An die Leier, D 737/Op. 56 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822-1823; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Atys, D 585 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Meerestille, D 216/Op. 3 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Der König in Thule, D 367/Op. 5 no 5 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Blondel zu Marien, D 626 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Die Gebüsche, D 646 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Der Hirt, D 490 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Pilgerweise, D 789 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Wandrers Nachtlied, D 224/Op. 4 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Frühlingsglaube, D 686/Op. 20 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Das Heimweh, D 851 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Der Kreuzzug, D 932 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Abschied, D 475 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Ingo Metzmacher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 

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