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Zemlinsky: Lieder / Bonney, Von Otter, Blochwitz, Schmidt


Release Date: 06/28/1997 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 427348   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Barbara BonneyAnne Sofie von OtterCord GarbenHans-Peter Blochwitz,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 20 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

An irresistible package for Lieder enthusiasts. Zemlinsky bestrides the worlds of his student Schoenberg, of Mahler, of Korngold and of Richard Strauss.

Zemlinsky’s star continues to find new zeniths at least in recorded form if not in the concert hall. The classical recording world now willingly accommodates an enormous span of music from hyper-romantic, to impressionism, to classical, to speculative pre-history, to 1970s Round House avant-garde, troubadour and courtly medieval, plainchant and cross-over. The range continues to widen and Zemlinsky and Schrecker have been amongst the beneficiaries.

Zemlinsky bestrides the worlds of his student Schoenberg, of Mahler, of Korngold and of Richard Strauss. His
Read more operas have been extensively recorded by Capriccio - time for a boxed set surely. James Conlon has recorded several of the operas but also tackled much else from Zemlinsky’s orchestral catalogue during his time with EMI Classics and the Gürzenich orchestra. Again a complete Zemlinsky box from that source is long overdue. His Tagore-based Lyric Symphony – seen as a parallel to Mahler’s Das Lied - of similar schema - has been recorded more than several times. Brilliant have reissued Maazel’s sumptuous DG recording with Fischer-Dieskau and Varady. There are good versions also on Chandos and Decca.

This generous collection of 67 lieder is another connoisseur choice even if you do have to put up with the omission of the words and transations. The songs are however sung with with exemplary skill and insight by the finest line-up of singers all strong on vocal technique and appreciation of the words. Illustrations are not hard to find but you could do worse than start with CD 2 and the Ehetanzlied Und Andere Gesänge where the singers alternate – none inferior to the others. These are followed by the expressionist Schlummerlied to words by Richard Beer-Hofmann. The following Sechs Gesange are taken by von Otter. These carry a dank tendrilled misty-dissonant beauty. Auf Braunen Sammetschuhen (CD 2 tr. 14) floats between waking and sleep – a powerful song. The sprinkling of lieder from op. 2 suggest the young composer was impressed with Brahms but there are more than a few hints of his tendency towards dreamy moods unconsciously paralleling the words of Chausson and Duparc. The op. 7 set begins to reflect the easrliest stirrings of his later expressionist style which is more fully embraced in Turmwächterlied Und Andere Gesänge. The seven minute Turmwächterlied itself has a deeply-rooted romantic plangency that is bound to impress. The Opp. 22 and 27 songs often taken us into the same tonally ambivalent territory as Warlock’s The Curlew. Then again interspersed among these songs are such instantly winning gems as Jetzt ist die Zeit which recalls Howells and Finzi. At the other pole we have songs in Op. 27 such as Harlem Tanzerin which suggest the salty world of Kurt Weill and Weimar. Wandrers Nachtlied – the last song in Op, 27 - is more characteristic in its hazy-precise, hooded-eyed moonlit ecstasy. This is a subtle mood superbly articulated by Blochwitz. Cord Garben is a consistently illuminating accompanist.

...Irresistible for aficonados of Zemlinsky and his generation as well as for Lieder specialists.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
reviewing this set previously reissued as Brilliant 9009

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The Zemlinsky renaissance has been a recent phenomenon: recordings of the quartets by the LaSalle (DG), of the Lyrische Symphonie by the Berlin Philharmonic under Maazel (also DG), and festival performances of operas such as Eine florentische Tragodie and Der Zwerg have all happened just this decade. Whether or not this can be profitably linked, as Cord Garben would have it, with a revival of interest in Jugendstil is questionable: it may well have had more to do with a curiosity and growing receptivity to works from the beginning of our century which lived in the world of 12 tones without ever leaving the mainsprings of vernacular tonality.

Garben, anyway, has given us plenty of food for thought. His dedicated foraging through the Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles has uncovered the previously unknown Opp. 2 and 5 Lieder, presents from Zemlinsky to his pupil and friend, Schoenberg, and revealing witnesses to the composer's early, and, indeed, later development.

With this collection, the entire published songs are now recorded, though we are told that 40 more still lie dormant in American archives. Their casting is, almost without exception, sensitive and revelatory; Garben's own accompaniments are more alert and sentient than they can sometimes be in mainstream repertoire.

Echoes of Brahms pervade the Op. 2 collection; but there are inquisitive twists of melody and a reluctance on the part of the harmony to be pinned down which indicate Zemlinsky's cautious exploration. Barbara Bonney and Anne Sofie von Otter enliven their moments of diffidence by pressing a tempo here, colouring an harmonic inflection there. Only in "Um Mitternacht" does Bonney seem a little less than convinced by its crescendo of rapture. There are still both disappointments and joyful surprises: Andreas Schmidt has a hard time of it in the pedestrian setting of "Im Lenz"; von Otter, on the other hand, escapes with Zemlinsky from the confines of strophic folksong in the leaping cry of anguish at the end of "Das verlassene Mädchen".

Hans Peter Blochwitz wakes the tauter, more urgent Op. 5 group into their new life with the dialogue of dream angst and reassurance in "Schlaf nur em!". The waltz songs on Tuscan folk-lyrics seem, in the carefree, girlish voice of Bonney, to express the last rapture of musical youth before Op. 7's songs of experience.

That experience, according to Zemlinsky's widow, was his love for Alma Mahler: as the century turned, it inspired some of Zemlinsky's most easeful and entire expression. Nothing is wasted in the fevered harmonic change and syncopations of "Entbietung", a real Klimt of a musical canvas, with its wild hair and red poppies recreated forcefully by Schmidt. "No note that I regret is in my strings", cries the arching melody of "Sonntag", and Bonney and Garben together reveal the live fusion of word and note, line and accompaniment in this, one of Zemlinsky's most perfect songs, felicitously translated, as they all are, by William Mann.

Von Otter finds an almost Wolf-like intensity in the aching melodic contours of "Und hat der Tag all seine Qual", a song which leads inevitably to the Maeterlinck group, Op. 13. This collection confirms these songs as the zenith of Zemlinsky's writing. All six are sung by von Otter who is minutely sensitive to the compressed tonalities supporting the supplest and simplest of lines, and the resonances of the strange, mythic images of physical and spiritual death. The hanging cadences and sense of irresolution in "Als ihr Geliebter schied" ("When her lover left") and the questioning rubato of "Sie Kam zum Schloss gegangen" ("She came to the palace") are particularly moving.

Twenty years separate the Op. 22 Lieder, and their biographical sub-text is impossible to ignore. These are songs of universal and individual dislocation, their brittle melodies and oblique polytonality breathing forth Zemlinsky's years of emigration, alienation and impaired health. There is a new, staring numbness in Blochwitz's voice for the bare, chiselled "Abendkelch voll Sonnenlicht" which poignantly counterpoints the words, and a menacing uneasiness in Bonney's "Elfenlied".

The true songs of exile, though, are those of Op. 27, written in 1937-8 and published only ten years ago. Zemlinsky wearily follows the sandalwood scent of five Kalidasa poems as if to focus on his own growing sense of estrangement; and the brittle, bitter energy of the blues setting of Langston Hughes throws into perspective the effortful, vestigial beauty of "Elenid" ("Misery") and, finally, Goethe's own "Wandrers Nacht lied".

-- Gramophone [10/1989]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Waltz Songs (6) on Tuscan folk lyrics, Op. 6 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Soprano), Cord Garben (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
2.
Schlummerlied by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Cord Garben (Piano),
Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
3.
Lieder (6), Op. 22 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Barbara Bonney (Soprano),
Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Cord Garben (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
4.
Ahnung Beatricens by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Cord Garben (Piano), Barbara Bonney (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1935; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
5.
Lieder (12), Op. 27 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Cord Garben (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone),
Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1936; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
6.
Lieder (13), Op. 2 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Cord Garben (Piano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Barbara Bonney (Soprano),
Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
7.
Gesänge (8), Op. 5 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor),
Cord Garben (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1896; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
8.
Gesänge (5), Op. 7 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor),
Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Cord Garben (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1899; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
9.
Gesänge (4), Op. 8 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Cord Garben (Piano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1899; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
10.
Gesänge (6), Op. 10 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor), Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone),
Cord Garben (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1900; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 
11.
Gesänge (6), Op. 13 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Cord Garben (Piano), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1913; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studio no 3, Munich 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Lieder op.2 / Book 1: 1. Heilige Nacht
Lieder op.2 / Book 1: 2. Der Himmel hat keine Sterne
Lieder op.2 / Book 1: 3. Geflüster der Nacht
Lieder op.2 / Book 1: 6. Um Mitternacht
Lieder op.2 / Book 1: 7. Vor der Stadt
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 1. Frühlingstag
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 2. Altdeutsches Minnelied ("Des Knaben Wunderhorn")
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 3. Der Traum
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 4. Im Lenz
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 5. Das verlassene Mädchen
Lieder op.2 / Book 2: 6. Empfängnis
Gesänge op.5 / Book 1: 1. Schlaf nur ein!
Gesänge op.5 / Book 1: 2. Hütet euch!
Gesänge op.5 / Book 1: 3. O Blätter, dürre Blätter
Gesänge op.5 / Book 1: 4. O Sterne, goldene Sterne
Gesänge op.5 / Book 2: 1. Unter blühenden Bäumen
Gesänge op.5 / Book 2: 2. Tiefe Sehnsucht
Gesänge op.5 / Book 2: 3. Nach dem Gewitter
Gesänge op.5 / Book 2: 4. Im Korn
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 1. Liebe Schwalbe
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 2. Klagen ist der Mond gekommen
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 3. Fensterlein, nachts bist du zu
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 4. Ich gehe des Nachts
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 5. Blaues Sternlein
Walzer Gesänge nach toskanischen Volksliedern v.Ferd.Gregorovius op. 6 (Waltz-songs on Tuscan Folk Lyrics by F.Gregorovius,op.6): 6. Briefchen schrieb ich
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op.7: 1. Da waren zwei Kinder
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op.7: 2. Entbietung
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op.7: 3. Meeraugen
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op.7: 4. Irmelin Rose
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op.7: 5. Sonntag
Turmwächterlied und andere Gesänge op.8: 1. Turnwächterlied
Turmwächterlied und andere Gesänge op.8: 2. Und hat der Tag all seine Qual
Turmwächterlied und andere Gesänge op.8: 3. Mit Trommeln und Pfeifen
Turmwächterlied und andere Gesänge op.8: 4. Tod in Ähren
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 1. Ehetanzlied
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 2. Selige Stunde
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 3. Vöglein Schwermut
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 4. Meine Braut führ ich heim
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 5. Klopfet, so wird euch aufgetan
Ehetanzlied und andere Gesänge op.10: 6. Kirchweih
Schlummerlied (without op, no.) Schlaf mein Kind, der Abendwind weht
6 Songs Op.13: 1. Die drei Schwestern
6 Songs Op.13: 2. Die Mädchen mit den verbundenen Augen
6 Songs Op.13: 3. Lied der Jungfrau
6 Songs Op.13: 4. Als ihr Geliebter schied
6 Songs Op.13: 5. Und kehrt er einst heim
6 Songs Op.13: 6. Sie kam zum Schloss gegangen
Sechs Lieder op.22: 1. Auf braunen Sammetschuhen
Sechs Lieder op.22: 2. Abendkelch voll Sonnenlicht
Sechs Lieder op.22: 3. Feiger Gedanken bängliches Schwanken
Sechs Lieder op.22: 4. Elfenlied
Sechs Lieder op.22: 5. Volkslied
Sechs Lieder op.22: 6. Auf dem Meere meiner Seele
Sechs Lieder op.22: 7. Das bucklichte Männlein ("Des Knaben Wunderhorn")
Ahnung Beatricens (without op.) Gibt's Strass und Park, wo wir im Traum ims sahn?
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 1. Entführung
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 2. Sommer
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 3. Frühling
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 4. Jetzt ist die Zeit
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 5. Die Verschmähte
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 6. Der Wind des Herbstes
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 7. Misery
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 8. Harlem Tänzerin
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 9. Afrikanischer Tanz
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 10. Gib ein Lied mir wieder
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 11. Regenzeit
Zwölf Lieder op.27: 12. Wandrers Nachtlied

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