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Brahms, Strauss, Wolf, Marx, Mozart, Schubert: Lieder / Irmgard Seefried

Cornelius / Seefried
Release Date: 11/24/2009 
Label:  Orfeo   Catalog #: 0598091  
Composer:  Peter CorneliusJohannes BrahmsHugo WolfWilhelm Kienzl,   ... 
Performer:  Leopold LudwigErik WerbaIrmgard SeefriedViktor Graef
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 17 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IRMGARD SEEFRIED Irmgard Seefried (sop); Leopold Ludwig, Vitkor Graef, Erik Werba (pn) ORFEO 598 091, mono (77:19)


Songs by: BRAHMS, CORNELIUS, KIENZL, MARX, MOZART, SCHUBERT, STRAUSS, WOLF


This is an interesting selection of very early material featuring a young Irmgard Seefried, including at least two rarities. One of these is Cornelius’s Brautlieder cycle of six songs, recorded in 1943, and never Read more performed again by this artist. Along with it are the soprano’s first Lieder recordings for RAVAG, a Viennese radio station, and a series of collaborations with Erik Werba from the early 1950s that contain five Marx songs—the only surviving recordings of her early interest in the composer.


The first thing to note is just how extremely fresh Seefried sounds in everything on this disc. Of course, that’s a bit like saying “My, how sunny the sun is, today,” but there’s an audible difference between the Seefried who remained fresh-voiced in her 40s and the woman in her 20s and early 30s who can be caught here, in a few audio snapshots at the dawn of an international career. The silvery voice thrills with its athletic joy in Kienzl’s Mai . It shimmers in Strauss’s Die Nacht , with adumbrations of what she would bring to The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos.


Another point to make is that however easy Seefried makes it all seem—and other singers readily commented on that throughout her career—she was also a first-rate interpreter of Lieder. Take such a deceptively simple strophic song as Schubert’s Die Forelle . To just note a few interesting points, there’s the slightly darker, more masculine coloration of the second verse brought on by more recourse to the chest; the way the voice is slightly drained, the phrasing neatly clipped at the end of “Wie sich das Fischlein wand”; the sly way the next line is almost slid into, thanks to superb control of dynamics; the feather-light touch given to “So zuckte seine Rute”; and so one could go on, and on. There are famous Lieder singers, deservedly so, who offer a triumph of great art over poor vocal resources. Seefried is not among them. The voice, the technique, and the interpretative insights are matched to a startling degree that still impresses.


That the sound quality even of the earliest recordings on this album is good should surprise no one. Several companies throughout Europe and the U.S. were experimenting with magnetic film as an audio medium even during the mid 1920s, while the Germans were the first to wholeheartedly embrace the manufacturing and sale of tape recorders. (One early LP label in the U.S. actually acquired its tape equipment through an owner who “liberated” a few Magnetophon tape recorders while on duty in World War II.) The tapes heard here were remarkably well preserved, with no trace of pre- or post-echo bleed-through such as almost invariably occurs when magnetic tapes aren’t regularly rewound over long periods of time. There are brief instances of significant distortion during moments of high volume in the Cornelius material, and very slight distortion at similar points in the succeeding Brahms and Wolf. That’s about it. The balance between Seefried and her accompanists is excellent, and the various studios have just the right aural environments to avoid a dry, boxy sound on the one hand, and a cavernous ambience on the other.


Orfeo provides appreciative notes, but no texts or translations. That’s not a major matter, I suspect, since most people interested in this content will already have more Forellen then there are fish in the sea. Highly recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Brautlieder by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Leopold Ludwig (Piano), Erik Werba (Piano), Irmgard Seefried (Soprano),
Viktor Graef (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
2.
Songs (6), Op. 7: no 5, Die Trauernde by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
3.
Songs (5), Op. 105: no 2, Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
4.
Songs (6), Op. 97: no 1, Nachtigall by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Austria 
5.
Mörike Lieder: no 7, Das verlassene Mägdlein by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Mörike Lieder: no 17, Der Gärtner by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Mörike Lieder: no 13, Im Frühling by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Lieder (6), Op. 55: no 3, Maria auf dem Berge by Wilhelm Kienzl
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1901; Austria 
9.
Aus Onkels Liedermappe, Op. 73: no 5, Mai by Wilhelm Kienzl
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1906 
10.
Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling, K 596 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Die Forelle, D 550 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Songs (5), Op. 49: no 4, Wiegenlied by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
13.
Marienlied by Joseph Marx
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
14.
Erinnerung by Joseph Marx
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Germany 
15.
Italienisches Liederbuch: Zigeuner by Joseph Marx
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
16.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Germany 
17.
Sancta Maria by Joseph Marx
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1911 
18.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
19.
Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 3, Die Nacht by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
20.
Lieder (6), Op. 37: no 3, Meinem Kinde by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Germany 
21.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 1, Ruhe, meine Seele by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
22.
Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 8, Allerseelen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
23.
Schlichte Weisen (5), Op. 21: no 2, Du meines Herzens Krönelein by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887-1888; Germany 
24.
Lieder (3), Op. 29: no 2, Schlagende Herzen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Germany 

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