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Zemlinsky: Choral Works, Orchestral Songs / James Conlon


Release Date: 02/15/2005 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 86079   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Mariola MainkaStefan KohnkeYoung-Dal ParkAnne-Carolyn Schlüter,   ... 
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich OrchestraDüsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins ChorusMühlheimer Kantorei
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Zemlinsky’s three psalm settings inhabit a fascinating halfway house between the purely sacred manner of Bruckner and the individualist approach as epitomised by Brahms. In the early Psalm 83, this tension is manifested in the striking contrast between the strictly polyphonic choral writing of the opening and the more anguished chromaticism of the ensuing solo soprano. Chromaticism, however, gains the upper hand in the two later works, in particular the monumental Psalm 13 of 1935. Here one cannot help but interpret Zemlinsky’s choice of text in autobiographical terms, since the psalm’s message of ‘despair and hope at a time of great need’ seems to parallel the composer’s own plight in relation to the inexorable rise of Fascism in Central Read more Europe. The rest of this absorbing disc is taken up mainly with secular choral works from the 1890s. Although Brahms’s influence pervades many of the pieces, Zemlinsky achieves a distinctive charm in the short setting of Uhland’s poem ‘Frühlingsglaube’, and in the more ambitious Frühlingsbegräbnis cantata comes close to the visionary world of Mahler’s Das klagende Lied. While Riccardo Chailly has already championed the Psalms most effectively for Decca, James Conlon proves equally compelling in this repertoire and with the support of some outstanding singing and playing, makes a powerful case for the reappraisal of Zemlinsky’s entire choral output.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine
reviewing the choral works, originally released as EMI 56783


This collection of Zemlinsky orchestral songs covers the composer's entire creative life. The early Waldgespräch, Maiblumen blühten überall (lovingly sung by Soile Isokoski), and the Two Songs for Baritone and Orchestra, an especially arresting piece penetratingly performed by Andreas Schmidt, show Zemlinsky crafting his own style away from the pervasive, opposite influences of Wagner and Brahms (though Waldgespräch contains passages clearly influenced by Die Walküre). With the Maeterlinck songs of 1910-13, the composer's mature and harmonically lush technique is fully assured, making this one of his masterpieces. Violeta Urmana's singing is not so regally expressive as Eva Marton's on Hungaroton, but her clarity of diction is particularly welcome, as is her purity of tone in Als ihr Geliebter schied.


Finally, we encounter late Zemlinsky in the Symphonic Songs of 1929. Fascinated by a German-translated book of poetry from the Harlem Renaissance entitled Afrika Singt, Zemlinsky created a cycle of seven songs based on texts by Langston Hughes and other prominent African-American writers. It's a little odd to hear an operatic baritone singing in German about Dixieland and picking cotton, and although Zemlinsky does incorporate some jazz elements, he doesn't catch anywhere near the flavor of the U.S. south that Kurt Weill does in his Seven Deadly Sins. However, the music's extreme chromaticism, ever-fascinating orchestration, and beautifully weaving vocal lines make these songs endlessly alluring, as does Michael Volle's imaginative and vocally splendid performance. James Conlon and the Cologne Philharmonic make perfect partners for the singers in these truly collaborative orchestral songs, and EMI's clear and richly resonant recording creates the ideal atmosphere in which to experience them. Fans of Zemlinsky and lovers of lieder will find this disc a treasure.
-- Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com
reviewing the orchestral songs, originally released as EMI 57024 Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Psalm 13, Op. 24 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Düsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1998 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: German 
2.
Psalm 23, Op. 14 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Düsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1998 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Psalm 83 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Mariola Mainka (Soprano), Stefan Kohnke (Bass), Young-Dal Park (Tenor),
Anne-Carolyn Schlüter (Alto)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Düsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1998 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 14 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
Frühlingsglaube by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Mühlheimer Kantorei
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: German 
5.
Minnelied by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Christiane Menke (Flute), Robert Thistle (French Horn), André Sebald (Flute),
Mechthild Rohrmus (Harp), Egon Hellrung (French Horn)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mühlheimer Kantorei
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Hochzeitsgesang by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Romano Giefer (Organ), Lothar Blum (Tenor)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mühlheimer Kantorei
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: Hebrew 
7.
Frühlingsbegräbnis by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Donnie Ray Albert (Baritone), Deborah Voigt (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Düsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1996-97 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: German 
8.
Geheimnis by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  Mühlheimer Kantorei
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: German 
9.
Aurikelchen by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mühlheimer Kantorei
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1912; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: German 
10.
Waldgespräch by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Soile Isokoski (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Maiblumen by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Torsten Janicke (Violin), Mile Kosi (Viola), Rose Kaufmann (Violin),
Urara Seo (Viola), Daniel Cahen (Cello), Sylvia Borg (Cello),
Soile Isokoski (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1903; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Songs (2) for Baritone and Orchestra by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Gesänge (6), Op. 13 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Violeta Urmana (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1913; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Sinfonische Gesänge, Op. 20 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Michael Volle (Baritone)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 

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