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Brahms, Liszt: Lieder / Thomas Quasthoff, Justus Zeyen


Release Date: 02/08/2000 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 463183   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz LisztJohannes Brahms
Performer:  Thomas QuasthoffJustus Zeyen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A notable solo debut for the Yellow Label from a young master of Lieder and a programme that impresses for its imaginative selection of Brahms and Liszt.

Quasthoff's recordings to date have appeared on RCA Red Seal, but this new coupling of Brahms and Liszt songs marks his solo debut as an exclusive DG artist, although he has already appeared as Anne Sofie von Otter's partner in Claudio Abbado's disc of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Berlin Philharmonic (9/99). His arrival as DG's premier exponent of the German Lied repertoire neatly coincides with the issue of DG's magnificent 21-disc Fischer-Dieskau edition (reviewed on page 104), although anyone who chooses to acquire this compendium - or who already owns
Read more DG's previously issued Fischer-Dieskau's collected Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Strauss and Wolf editions - may need some persuading that Quasthoff has anything to add to his great predecessor's legacy in this music. It would be a pity, however, if they did not investigate this intriguingly conceived programme juxtaposing the two antipoles of German romantic music, the conservative classicist Brahms and the progressive avant-gardist Liszt, in one of their few common territories.

Like Fischer-Dieskau (and Olaf Bar) Quasthoff treats Brahms's Op 32 as a quasi-cycle, where most singers cherry-pick Wie rafft ich mich auf in der Nacht ('Up I jumped in the night'), Du sprichst, dass ich mich tauschte ('You said I was mistaken') and the ecstatic Wie bist du, meine Konigin ('My queen, you are so wondrous'). The nine songs that comprise the set were all composed in 1864 and are linked thematically: lost love and quintessentially German romantic Todessehnsucht ('longing for death') loom large in the emotional foreground. If this means a lack of variety - Brahms's song 'cycles' are not Schubert's or Schumann's - Quasthoff minimises the effect with the poetry of his singing and deeply considered inflexion of the German language. It is perhaps unfortunate that his voice, a pure lyric baritone with darker accents, is not dissimilar in timbre to that of Fischer-Dieskau - and the older singer is an obvious interpretative model - although its upper register sounds more robust, so that in a turbulent song such as Wehe, so willst du mich wieder ('Alas, would you enclose me, restraining fetters?') he doesn't hector as Dieskau tends to.

Apart from Quasthoff's obvious virtues, the disc's principal attraction is his evidently fruitful partnership with the young pianist Justus Zeyen, who has transposed the first (tenor) version of Liszt's Petrarch Sonnets into the keys of the second (baritone) version for Quasthoff. But it is his exquisite playing which enhances the desirability of this disc: his twinkling arpeggios depicting the 'Melodischer Wandel der Sterne' ('Melodious movement of the stars') in Wie rafft ich or his subtle mood-painting in Liszt's justly celebrated Die Loreley and O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst ('Liebestraum'). Unlike Fischer-Dieskau and Barenboim in their Brahms edition, Quasthoff does not disdain to sing the fourth song of Op 94, Sapphische Ode, usually reserved for female singers (Jessye Norman in the DG Brahms Edition, 5/97). Although many will prefer to stay with Fischer-Dieskau and Barenboim in this music, I will treasure this superb-sounding disc for Quasthoff's and Zeyen's rapt account of Wie bist du, meine Konigin: the singer exhales the repeated exclamations of Wonnevoll ('Rapturous') with intoxicating exaltation, the pianist under- lining the sentiment with playing of rare sensitivity. Wonnevoll indeed!

-- Hugh Canning, Gramophone [6/2000]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Die Loreley, S 273 no 1 (1st version) by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Justus Zeyen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: German 
2.
O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S 298 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Justus Zeyen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, S 314 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Justus Zeyen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
Petrarch Sonnets (3), S 270 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Justus Zeyen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839/1861; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
Songs (9), Op. 32 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Justus Zeyen (Piano), Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 21 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Songs (5), Op. 72 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Justus Zeyen (Piano), Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876-1877; Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: German 
7.
Songs (5), Op. 94 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Justus Zeyen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 1. Wie raff' ich mich auf in der Nacht
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 2. Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 3. Ich schleich' umher
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 4. Der Strom, der neben mir verrauschte
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 5. Wehe, so willst du mich wieder
Lieder und Gesänge op.32: 6. Du sprichst, daß ich mich täuschte
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 7. Bitteres zu sagen denkst du
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 8. So stehn wir, ich und meine Weide
Lieder und Gesänge Op.32: 9. Wie bist du, meine Königin
Fünf Gesänge Op.72: 1. Alte Liebe
Fünf Gesänge Op.72: 2. Sommerfäden
Fünf Gesänge Op.72: 3. O kühler Wald
Fünf Gesänge Op.72: 4. Verzagen
Fünf Gesänge Op.72: 5. Unüberwindlich
Fünf Lieder Op.94: 1. Mit vierzig Jahren (Rückert)
Fünf Lieder Op.94: 2. Steig auf, geliebter Schatten
Fünf Lieder Op.94: 3. Mein Herz ist schwer
Fünf Lieder Op.94: 4. Sapphische Ode
Fünf Lieder Op.94: 5. Kein Haus, keine Heimat
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, S. 270 - 1st Version For Tenor, Transposed Into The Keys Of The 2nd Version For Baritone By Justus Zeyen: 1. Pace non trovo
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, S. 270 - 1st Version For Tenor, Transposed Into The Keys Of The 2nd Version For Baritone By Justus Zeyen: 2. Benedetto sia 'l giorno
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, S. 270 - 1st Version For Tenor, Transposed Into The Keys Of The 2nd Version For Baritone By Justus Zeyen: 3. I' vidi in terra angelici costumi
Die Loreley, S.273 - 1. Fassung
O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S.298
"Es muss ein Wunderbares sein" S.314

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