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Meyerbeer: Songs / Sivan Rotem, Jonathan Zak

Meyerbeer / Rotem / Zak
Release Date: 02/22/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572367  
Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jonathan ZakSilvan Rotem
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Known best for his operas, with, perhaps, only Les Huguenots (1836) universally familiar, Giacomo Meyerbeer remains an important figure in nineteenth-century music. His legacy includes works in other genres, including songs. Meyerbeer’s songs connect directly to his operas and this recent Naxos recording makes a generous and accessible selection composed songs throughout his career. They set texts in various languages, including, French, Italian, and German. This Naxos disc begins with Italian canzonas that offer a sense of the composer’s approach to the idiom, with expansive vocal lines supported most often by a discreet accompaniment that neither overwhelms nor competes with the voice. This is as found in “Il nascere e il fiorire Read more d’una rosa,” a piece that stands apart from the set of Sei canzonette italiane (1810), also included in this recording. The latter set of six songs stands out as the product of the nineteen-year-old composer.

With the French songs, Meyerbeer touches upon salon music, as found in “La Ballade de la Reine Marguérite de Valois” (1829), a piece that also relates to his operatic efforts by giving voice to an historic figure. Some of the chansons tend toward nineteenth-century convention, as found in the vocal line of “Sur le balcon” (1845), which is nonetheless effective with its use of short, expressive motifs to convey the text, and occasional melismas that seem like cadenzas for the singer to build into the performance.

Of Meyerbeer’s Lieder, the accompaniments are sometimes predictable in the voicing and patterning. Even so, they offer some engaging melodies that make then stand well with other songs of the era. “Komm, du schönes Fischermädchen” (1837) resembles some of the Humoresken of Löwe and yet does not sound derivative, with its evocation of popular-sounding elements. “Mina” (1837), with its subtitle that associates the piece with the songs of Venetian gondoliers, contains some vocalism reminiscent of Meyerbeer’s operatic work.

In approaching this unexplored literature, Sivan Rotem is effective. Her voice fits the demands of the music, which can be challenging, both in terms of register and also declamation. As a performer, she succeeds in creating the various moods and styles involved in this selection of pieces. She works well with Jonathan Zak. He must similarly execute a variety of accompaniments that sometimes require moments of pianism which alternate with more perfunctory supporting passages. His ability to support the voice is evident in the result, which is a unified effort in this persuasive set of performances. Through their efforts, Rotem and Zak make a case for performing Meyerbeer’s songs more often. They are good pieces that offer not only insights into the composer’s legacy but also add to our knowledge of solo song in the first half of the nineteenth century.

-- James L. Zychowicz, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
La Ricordanza by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jonathan Zak (Piano), Silvan Rotem (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
2.
Délire by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840 
3.
Il nascere e il fiorire d'una rosa by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
4.
Italian Canzonette (6) by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1810 
5.
La dame invisible by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
6.
Rachel a Nephtali by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
7.
Ballade de la reine Marguerite de Valois by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
8.
Sur le balcon by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
9.
Le bapteme by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
10.
La Folle de St. Joseph by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
11.
Chant de mai by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; France 
12.
Nella by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
13.
Komm du schönes Fischermädchen by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
14.
Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
15.
Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jonathan Zak (Piano), Silvan Rotem (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
16.
Suleika by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
17.
Lied des venezianischen Gondoliers "Mina" by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jonathan Zak (Piano), Silvan Rotem (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1837 
18.
Luft von Morgen by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
19.
Der Garten des Herzens by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Germany 
20.
Scirocco by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
21.
Frühling im Versteck by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Silvan Rotem (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)

Sound Samples

Le ricordanze
De miei giorni (Delire)
Il nascere e il fiorire d'una rosa
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 1. Sceglier fra mille un core
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 2. Da voi, da voi, cari lumi
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 3. Giura il nocchier
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 4. Bei labbri che amore
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 5. Se non ti moro allato
6 canzonettes italiennes: No. 6. Basta dir ch'io sono amante
La dame invisible
Rachel a Nephtali
Ballade de la reine Marguerite de Valois
Sur le balcon
Le bapteme
La folle de St. Joseph: La folle de St Joseph
Chant de mai
Nella
Komm, du schones Fischermadchen
Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube
Hor ich das Liedchen klingen
Suleika
Mina
Luft von Morgen
Der Garten des Herzens
Scirocco
Fruhling im Versteck

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