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Schumann: Dichterliebe, Liederkreis / Goerne, Ashkenazy

Release Date: 03/17/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 458265   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Performer:  Matthias GoerneVladimir Ashkenazy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With his dark, velvet timbre, intense legato line and searching response to the fluctuating shades of Heine's bittersweet verses, Goerne gives mesmeric readings of both Dichterliebe and the Op. 24 Liederkreis. Partly because of the colour of his voice, partly because of some unusually broad tempos, both cycles emerge as more sombre and haunted than in the comparably fine recordings by Wolfgang Holzmair and Ian Bostridge. The fourth song of the Liederkreis, "Lieb Liebchen", seems suffused with genuine death-weariness — barely a hint here of wryness or irony. In the following "SchOne Wiege meiner Leiden". Goerne captures the feverishness of Heine's original which Schumann's lulling, nostalgic melody tends to mitigate; Read more later in the song the lover's tottering reason and death-longing are chillingly realized. And if Goerne perhaps sounds too burdened in the smiling opening of the seventh song, "Berg' und Burgen", he conveys the poet's disillusion in the final verse — one of Heine's typical ironic twists — more sharply than either Holzmair or Bostridge.

In one song, "Ich wandelte unter den Baumen" (No. 3), the tempo is dangerously expansive, scarcely allowing room for manoeuvre when Schumann marks Langsamer — "slower". But Goerne brings it off through subtlety of coloration and the sheer absorbed intensity of his phrasing. All the songs are of course, transposed down, though it's a pity Goerne didn't opt to sing the opening and closing numbers in the same key, thereby preserving Schumann's tonal framework.

In the first two songs of Dichterliebe Goerne, more than any singer I can remember hearing in the cycle, underlines the sense of sorrow and regret with which Schumann shadows Heine's limpid love lyrics. And this sets the tone for a brooding, intensely inward reading, flaring into self-lacerating bitterness in "Ich grolle nicht" ("Wie du auch strahlst in Diamantenpracht", 034", has rarely sounded more anguished) and "Das ist em n FlOten und Geigen", hardening into an iron stoicism in the closing song, before the overwhelming sense of longing and loss in the last line. Goerne treats No. 10, "HOC ich das Liedchen klingen" (again, taken very slowly) as a numb, trance-like reaction to the frenetic previous song; and, typically, he brings a hypnotic concentration to No. 13, "Ich hab' im Traum geweinet", with a perfectly controlled — and deeply disturbing — crescendo as the tormented lover awakens for the final time (from 150").

Throughout, Ashkenazy is a positive, sympathetic partner, though here and there his sharply etched playing can be overassertive, an impression enhanced by the relatively forward balancing of the keyboard. At barely over 50 minutes Decca's playing time is niggardly — both the EMI and Philips discs include a clutch of additional Heine settings. But if some may understandably prefer a higher, lighter voice in these cycles, Goerne is the equal of both Holzmair and Bostridge in interpretative insight and tonal beauty, and seems to me to venture a more daring range of expression than either.

-- Gramophone [5/1998]
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Works on This Recording

Dichterliebe, Op. 48 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1997 
Venue:  Stadthalle, Winterthur, Switzerland 
Length: 28 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 
Liederkreis, Op. 24 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Matthias Goerne (Baritone), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1997 
Venue:  Stadthalle, Winterthur, Switzerland 
Length: 21 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Dichterliebe, Op.48: 1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 7. Ich grolle nicht
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 8. Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 10. Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 13. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 14. Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
Dichterliebe, Op.48: 16 Die alten, bösen Lieder
Liederkreis, Op.24: 1. Morgens steh' ich auf und frage
Liederkreis, Op.24: 2. Es treibt mich hin, es treibt mich her
Liederkreis, Op.24: 3. Ich wandelte unter den Bäumen
Liederkreis, Op.24: 4. Lieb' Liebchen, leg's Händchen auf Herze mein
Liederkreis, Op.24: 5. Schöne Wiege meiner Leiden
Liederkreis, Op.24: 6. Warte, warte, wilder Schiffsmann
Liederkreis, Op.24: 7. Berg' und Burgen schaun herunter
Liederkreis, Op.24: 8. Anfangs wollt' ich fast verzagen
Liederkreis, Op.24: 9. Mit Myrten und Rosen, lieblich und hold

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