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Track(s) taken from CDA67645

Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt

First line:
Antonius zur Predigt
composer
8 July 1893; subsequently published as No 6 of Des Knaben Wunderhorn (also called Humoresken); remodelled as the scherzo of Symphony No 2
author of text
Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: February 2007
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Produced by Teije van Geest
Engineered by Teije van Geest
Release date: January 2008
Total duration: 4 minutes 28 seconds

Cover artwork: Apotheosis (detail) by Sergius Hruby (1869-1943)
Private Collection; reproduced by kind permission of the copyright holders, Whitford & Hughes, UK / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1

Reviews

'Deeply affecting … warmly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Stephan Genz's light, warm and cultured baritone is especially fine in reflecting the ghost voices and moonlight serenades of Mahler's folk-inspired anthology … this is the first time that I've heard a male voice take on 'Urlicht' … and its quiet serenity, as in 'Wo die schonen trompeten blasen', is what Genz does best' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Urlicht is beautifully sung … and Vignoles's playing is remarkably expressive throughout' (The Sunday Times)

'The charm of Mahler's Lieder-composing style—so close to Schubert's—comes across beautifully. Stephan Genz is more than just a very fine singer: his precision, sensitivity and range of imagination proclaim him a true successor to the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. And Vignoles's booklet note is an informative pleasure in itself' (Classic FM Magazine)

'This performance is a revelation, the simplicity of the piano setting and the serenity of Genz's performance casting a benediction on the entire program … Genz and Vignoles have produced a worthy successor' (Fanfare, USA)

'There are a number of other collections available … but none of these has the clear and unambiguous sound that this Hyperion release has, especially the excellent piano balance, and Genz sings with a definite point of view and a nice sense of characterization. You have to have one of the orchestral versions, but you will also find much satisfaction in Mahler’s superbly realized piano version as well, and this recording will serve many needs' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Roger Vignoles palpably revels in the task of conjuring a full Mahlerian orchestra … this CD is partly a demonstration of Genz's technique in this repertoire: the tone remains firm at even the most intimate levels and, most importantly, he binds consonants and vowels into the singing line, so that the lied emerges as a form of heightened speech. But it's a measure of Genz's sensitivity that one doesn't hear simply a great lieder singer at work. Instead, the entire set, with its panoply of characters, emanates from a recognizably 'Wunderhorn' persona—direct, ingenuous, fully in tune with the material's folklore-ish nature' (Opera News)

'It is a recording that seems, above all, to be characterised by enormous intelligence and sensitivity, from both singer and pianist … most prefer to here these songs in Mahler's brilliant and scathing orchestral versions but the artistry on show here makes me glad to hear them in the intimate, piano-only versions … this disc, then, allows us to experience these wonderful songs close-up in all their variety, humour and pathos. Highly Recommended' (Musical Criticism.com)

'This is a vibrant rendering of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn in the versions for voice and piano, a setting which requires the idiomatic approach Vignoles uses for the accompaniment and the nuanced tone Genz uses to evoke a sense of chamber music. Lacking the sonorous orchestral accompaniment, the singer is more exposed, and this allows Genz to display his vocal finesse well' (Opera Today, USA)

'Vignoles's pianism is so persuasive that one hardly misses the orchestral versions. In Revelge, for instance, his accompaniment to the song about the marching soldier has a suitably martial quality, while his playing of the lowest register of the piano to represent the drum rolls at the beginning of Der Tamboursg'sell is eerie and unforgettable. Genz, meanwhile, provides a well-characterised interpretation, his voice superbly controlled both in the vehemence of the prisoner's defiance in Lied des Verfolgten im Turm and in the beautiful pianissimos of Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen' (MusicOHM.com)
Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, which Mahler later developed into the scherzo of his Symphony No 2, is the musical equivalent of a scene from some medieval German altarpiece. In this tale St Anthony, fed up at the indifference of his congregation, goes down to the river to preach to the fishes, the joke (and the moral) being that however much they all enjoy the sermon they are no more reformed by it than their human equivalents. Mahler’s setting has a wonderfully straight-faced sense of humour, its 3/8 ostinato teeming with fish that dart and dive through the depths of the keyboard in gleaming parallel thirds. When the fishes’ delight is expressed (‘Kein Predigt niemalen …’) the underlying Ländler becomes an outright dance, strutting its stuff with an almost Bergian polytonality, while a smoother and nobler F major section at ‘Gut Aale und Hausen’ perfectly conveys the distinctions of rank. At the end however all is disillusion; the final verse is underpinned by a C minor pedal point and the scene dissolves in a descending chromatic passage that is remarkably similar to the end of Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen from Schumann’s Dichterliebe.

from notes by Roger Vignoles 2008

Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, die Mahler später in das Scherzo seiner Symphonie Nr. 2 verarbeitete, ist das musikalische Gegenstück zu einer Szene auf einem deutschen Altarbild des Mittelalters. In dieser Erzählung geht der Heilige Antonius zum Fluss, um den Fischen zu predigen, da er von der Gleichgültigkeit seiner Gemeinde verdrossen ist. Der Witz (und die Moral) ist, dass sie, egal wie sehr ihnen die Predigt auch gefällt, von ihr genauso wenig reformiert werden wie ihre menschlichen Gegenstücke. Mahlers Vertonung besitzt einen wunderbaren Humor, der keine Miene verzieht: sein 3/8-Ostinato wimmelt von Fischen, die in schillernden Terzen durch die Tiefen des Klaviers tauchen und flitzen. Wenn das Gefallen der Fische ausgedrückt wird („Kein Predigt niemalen“) wird der zugrunde liegende Ländler zu einem echten Tanz, der mit nahezu Bergscher Polytonalität stolziert, während ein glatterer und noblerer F-Dur-Abschnitt bei „Gut Aale und Hausen“ perfekt Unterschiede im Status ausdrückt. Am Ende werden jedoch alle Illusionen zerstört; die letzte Strophe wird von einem c-Moll-Orgelpunkt untermauert, und die Szene löst sich in einer absteigenden chromatischen Passage auf, die dem Ende von Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen aus Schumanns Dichterliebe erstaunlich ähnlich ist.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Vignoles 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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