WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Between Life and Death / Christoph Pregardien, Michael Gees

Pregardien,Christoph
Release Date: 02/09/2010 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72324  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachGustav MahlerFranz SchubertRobert Schumann,   ... 
Performer:  Christoph PrégardienMichael Gees
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Multi 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
SuperAudio CD:  $38.49
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

3364040.zz1_BETWEEN_LIFE_DEATH_SONGS.html

BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH—SONGS AND ARIAS Christoph Prégardien (ten); Michael Gees (pn) CHALLENGE CC72324 (2 CDs: 86:37 Text and Translation)


BACH Komm, süsser Tod. MAHLER Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Urlicht. Revelge. Ich bin der Welt abgehanden gekommen. SCHUBERT Schwanengesang. Auflösung. Der Jüngling und der Tod. Der Tod und das Mädchen. Kriegers Ahnung. SCHUMANN Stirb, Lieb’ und Freud! MOZART Abendempfindung. BRAHMS Feldeinsamkeit. Wie rafft ich mich auf. LOEWE Edward. Erlkönig. WEBER Der Freischütz : Max’s aria. WOLF Denk’ es, o Seele! Anakreons Grab. Das Ständchen. Dereinst. Gedanke mein. MENDELSSOHN Neue Liebe. TCHAIKOVSKY Eugen Onegin: Lenski’s aria


Christoph Prégardien is cited in the notes to this album as saying that “Today death has been pushed out of our lives almost completely.” He is probably right. Despite the horrors of ongoing wars and natural catastrophe that assail us every day, the death they spew remains safely distant and controlled for us by newspaper and television editors. Though this recital claims to be about life as well, it is mostly about death. We take our cue from the opening song, Bach’s Komm, süsser Tod from the Schemelli songbook, written in a period when death was often a constant companion.


Prégardien’s voice has darkened over the years and now has a slightly baritonal quality, which suits many of these texts. The piano sounds as if the studio walls are quite hard, which emphasizes the instrument’s brightness and lends a perhaps appropriate chilliness to the atmosphere. Michael Gees is very much a partner in this recital: In the Bach, for instance, after the first two verses, he plays one verse alone, and is not afraid to pull the tempi and decorate modestly, before Prégardien comes back for just the last verse, skipping the two in between. Given the avowed program of this recital, it is interesting to note that these two verses happen to be the darkest in the whole song.


It is my understanding that Mahler made a piano accompaniment for Urlicht , but the playlist says that this version of it comes from the Second Symphony, where, of course, it is sung by an alto. Though a tenor here is somewhat unexpected, this is an effective reading, though I wish Prégardien were acoustically nearer the piano, which Gees makes more a commentary than an accompaniment. The two are really thinking as one here.


Few of the songs by the same composer follow directly on one another. For instance, Urlicht is followed in this recital by Schubert’s Schwanengesang (not a part of the cycle of that name). This is, perhaps, the point to note that my list above has grouped the songs by composer the more easily to see what is in the program; it does not reflect the order of the songs in that program, which would make the content difficult to grasp and the headnote even longer. But what is interesting here is that Prégardien and Gees are trying to make their own “cycle.” The two discs, each of roughly the same length, represent the two halves of their recital, in which they see the first half as posing questions—about meaning, about purpose, about ends—to which the second can give no clear answer. The mosaic structure they adopt is most intelligent and might usefully be explored by more singers. In fact, I recommend listening to this as a complete recital, one constructed to express a shaping idea not always available in extant cycles by single composers. Despite the theme, there is enough musical variation here to hold our attention


If we then ask what it is we hear, we note first that the selection skirts the standard repertoire—Loewe’s Erlköning , for example, or Schubert’s Der Jüngling und der Tod —without abandoning it altogether— Revelge , for instance, or Feldeinsamkeit . The inclusion of arias and even Urlicht is also uncommon on a Lied recital. It is, in fact, interesting to note that these really become songs here, as opposed to symphonic excerpts or opera arias. It is my understanding that, in the concert series of which this is a record, they ended the program with Revelge , in Mahler’s 1905 piano version, as here, after which Ich bin der Welt abgehanden gekommen was the only encore they gave; it concludes this program too. Though Prégardien occasionally hooks upward leaps, as in Lenski’s aria, for instance (sung here in German), he works hard to bring nuance to an otherwise tonally somber but well-thought-out program.


There is no alternative to this disc. Though Henry Fogel, in Fanfare 32:4, disliked their Schöne Müllerin , Paul Orgel recommended their separately recorded DVD version of the cycle, made about the same time, in 32:6. I must note here that both ArkivMusik and Amazon list this short recording as two full-price discs.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Komm, süsser Tod, komm, sel'ge Ruh'!, BWV 478 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1736; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Symphony no 2 in C minor "Resurrection": 4th movement, Urlicht by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1896; Germany 
3.
Schwanengesang, D 957: no 3, Frühlingssehnsucht by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Gedichte (12), Op. 35: no 2, Stirb, Lieb und Freud! by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
5.
Auflösung, D 807 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Abendempfindung, K 523 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Songs (6), Op. 86: no 2, Feldeinsamkeit by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1877-79; Austria 
8.
Songs (9), Op. 32: no 1, Wie rafft ich mich auf in der Nacht by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
9.
Ballads (3), Op. 1: no 1, Edward by Carl Loewe
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
10.
Cantabile for Violin and Piano in D major by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1824 
11.
Mörike Lieder: no 39, Denk es, o Seele! by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Der Jüngling und der Tod, D 545 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Der Tod und das Mädchen, D 531/Op. 7 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Goethe Lieder: no 29, Anakreons Grab by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Eichendorff Lieder: no 4, Das Ständchen by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Songs (6), Op. 19a: no 4, Neue Liebe by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1833; Germany 
17.
Ballads (3), Op. 1: no 3, Erlkönig by Carl Loewe
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1824; Germany 
18.
Spanisches Liederbuch: no 22, Sagt, seid er es, feiner Herr by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Lensky's aria by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Written: 1879 
20.
Schwanengesang, D 957: no 2, Kriegers Ahnung by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Des Knaben Wunderhorn: no 13, Revelge by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1898; Hamburg, Germany 
22.
Rückert Lieder (5): no 4, Um Mitternacht by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Michael Gees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In