Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.
Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.
Exquisite young Soprano Emma Bell, accompanied by pianist Andrew West, performs a selection of German songs by Richard Strauss as well as premiere recordings by Bruno Walter and Joseph Marx.
Walter, whose tastes did not run to the more radical developments of twentieth century music, would have found a soul-mate in the Austrian composer Joseph Marx (1882-1964). Marx was born in Graz and made his career as teacher, critic and composer largely in Vienna. During his lifetime his music achieved regular performances in Austria and Germany but since his death his music has suffered almost total neglect. The one area of his output that is still explored with any regularity is his 120 or so songs, mostly composed during a four-year burst of activity from 1908 to 1912. The Heyse song in the present group—Hat dich die Liebe berührt—is drawn from that poet’s Italienisches Liederbuch; Marx had the idea of setting those poems omitted from Wolf’s famous set. The virtuoso accompaniment to the Stefan Zweig setting, Ein Drängen ist in meinem Herzen, gives some indication of Marx’s formidable keyboard skills, while the grateful melodic writing and poetically musical atmosphere of, for instance, Traumgekrönt, are the hallmarks of a born song composer.
The collection of folk poetry compiled by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim and published under the title Des Knaben Wunderhorn inspired many musical settings, notably Mahler’s celebrated selection. Mahler and Richard Strauss (1864-1949) shared a taste for sardonic humour—Hat gesagt-bleibt’s nicht dabei is just the sort of poem that Mahler relished, while Muttertändelei, in which a mother boasts of her child’s good character to her (no doubt) exasperated friends and neighbours, is musically close to Mahler’s world. Das Rosenband is a rare example of Strauss choosing to set a poem already known in another musical setting—in this case, by Schubert. It was originally conceived in orchestral terms, but arguably benefits from the less calorific piano transcription heard here. Felix Dahn, the author of the Mädchenblumen, was a distinguished historian and minor poet. This rarely-heard group of songs, although not among the composer’s finest, is an example of Strauss’s alchemic ability to transform base metal into something altogether more valuable. Quite what touched Strauss about these sentimental effusions is not known; however, they appealed to something in him, and his settings, especially the lively, sparky Mohnblumen, are both charming and touching. Of all the songs recorded here, perhaps the one that meant most to Strauss was Traum durch die Dämmerung, as it was chosen to represent the composer in the Works of Peace section of Ein Heldenleben. Its author, Otto Julius Bierbaum, was a poet of light verse in an imitation folksong idiom, or as his detractors put it, a Trallalant. Norman Del Mar, in his magisterial study of Strauss, splendidly describes this poem as ‘…an outstandingly beautiful piece of nostalgic nothingness’, out of which Strauss fashioned a song which (Del Mar again) ‘…(possesses) that quality of poignancy with which a Lotte Lehmann can summon tears to the eyes at their very recollection.’
Sandy Matheson © 2004