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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Photograph by Malcolm Crowthers.
Track(s) taken from CDJ33111
Recording details: May 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2009
Total duration: 15 minutes 13 seconds

'This disc goes far to vindicating some of Schumann's least-favoured late songs, not least due to Graham Johnson's eloquent advocacy, in print and in performance' (Gramophone)

'A real disc of discovery: this is Schumann as he is seldom heard. In this final volume of his revelatory Schumann Songs series, Graham Johnson perceptively writes about, accompanies and presents still more rarities, in the voices of both loyal colleagues and of younger singers whom he keenly champions … altogether touching and persuasive performances' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Every time a new instalment of Graham Johnson's complete Schumann song recording appears, I'm eager to lay my hands on it. Each one sheds new light on well-loved masterpieces and brings wonderful neglected songs back to light. The singers are shrewdly chosen to fit the character of the songs, the liner notes are a treasure-trove of learning and insight, and Johnson's wonderful playing illuminates every song' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This is the final instalment of Hyperion's complete edition of Schumann's songs, the brainchild of pianist Graham Johnson, who has overseen and prepared the series with great erudition and care … the best songs are also the most disturbing: Der Einsiedler expresses an almost Mahlerian longing for the freedom from human strife that only solitude can bring … Johnson himself is faultless, as always' (The Guardian)

Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op 36
22/23 July & August 1840; published 1842
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Eric Sams makes the point that when Schumann ceases to make his poetic choices in a subjective way in his 1840 songs the results are rather indifferent; his music had taken fire, as is the case with settings of Heine, Chamisso and Eichendorff, when he dreamed of his Clara and engaged in the struggle to win her hand. When he begins to write songs with texts that he feels he ought to set, there is something of the former mastery that is missing. This is to raise the subject of Robert Reinick in Schumann’s work, as well as in the songs of the young Brahms and Wolf who probably approached this poet, however briefly, as a result of Schumann’s earlier dalliance. Of all the poets that Schumann set in 1840 Reinick is perhaps the weakest—the reputations of Heine, Eichendorff, Kerner, even Chamisso, have remained more or less untouched by time, but who now has heard of Reinick apart from lieder enthusiasts? He was a talented artist and engraver as well as a reasonably skilled versifier, and this at a time when the ‘complete’ artist of this kind was highly valued (another such was Franz Kugler, poet of Brahms’s famous Ständchen, who was also an artist, art-historian and composer). Reinick’s lyrics combined patriotism with a Biedermeier kind of folkish (and specifically Rhenish) lyricism that seemed quintessentially German at a time when politics were slowly but surely moving in an increasingly nationalistic direction. But even this kind of patriotism was old hat in comparison to the work of Uhland.

There was a side of Schumann that was lost in a subjective day-dream, but there was also a more ambitious part of his personality that planned his career to a fault: thus the lieder of 1840 were self-consciously followed by new chapters: the symphony in 1841 and chamber music in 1842. It is very clear that for all his altruism it mattered greatly to him how he was regarded by the outside world; the careful fostering of the Robert–Clara legend is evidence enough of this. If the works of the left-wing rabble-rouser Heine from Hamburg, and the Catholic Silesian Eichendorff were inspired literary choices on the part of the Saxon Schumann, a poet like Reinick seems like a literary choice selected to befit a composer who aspired to the status of a national figure, someone transcending the state boundaries that had so long served German art with such variety and distinction. Reinick’s poems represented a more central, if rather anodyne and artificial, tradition in the same way that Disneyland’s mythology and the castle of Cinderella may claim to represent the history of a United States without a history of his own. In hymning the Rhine and the Fatherland Reinick steps outside the time-honoured concept of the regional poet and provides lyrics for an emerging Germany that are much more generalized: this is not a real country (at least not as yet) but rather a concept—Germany united by cosy religiosity on the banks of the Rhine, the mighty river in itself symbolic of the nation and a source of legend. In this kind of fairy-tale land all is sweetness and light ‘mit Lust und Liedern’; lovers always become wives, and the elves play their part in revealing to the poet that what he needs above all is a pure-of-heart German girl. Of course Reinick was not the only poet to write on these topics in this way, but his Gedichte had early success partly because of the appealing and atmospheric drawings that went along with them.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2009

Other albums featuring this work
'Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39' (CDA67944)
Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00 CDA67944  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Schumann: The Complete Songs' (CDS44441/50)
Schumann: The Complete Songs
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44441/50  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night

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