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Hyperion Records

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Moonlight Walk by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67667
Recording details: January 2008
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 5 minutes 20 seconds

'There's a special refinement here that Fischer-Dieskau did not always capture … unexpected notes of smoky mystery, youthful defiance and solidarity with the working man characterise the settings of Richard Dehmel' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Strauss is so closely associated with the soprano voice that it is useful to be reminded how his rhapsodically lyrical style can be beautifully suited to baritone and bass too … both [Maltman and Miles] sing with great sensitivity and imaginative word-colouring' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Maltman has the lion's share, his molasses-rich lower range and walnut-polished upper melting into the ethereal Am Ufer and finding gruff humour in Das Lied des Steinkopfers. Alastair Miles' robust, sensitive bass excelts in Im Spätboot, perfectly capturing the eerie, dark atmosphere of Strauss's weary boat passenger' (The Times)

'Roger Vignoles can do no wrong in my book, his playing as adept and fresh as ever, strolling through his prime… this is a worthy issue … Strauss deserves no less' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

Vom künftigen Alter, Op 87 No 1
First line:
Der Frost hat mir bereifet des Hauses Dach
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
By 1929 Strauss had most of his greatest operatic successes behind him. It is perhaps no surprise that his three late Rückert settings all have the epic scale of operatic perorations. Vom künftigen Alter is a rumination on the winter of old age. ‘My hair is white but my heart is still warm’—this is the meaning of Rückert’s metaphor, and Strauss takes his cue for a favourite device, beginning in one key (E flat minor) and immediately modulating to another (E major), with the halting, frozen rhythm of the opening gradually melting into the warmer, flowing textures that accompany the rest of the song. Paler harmonies express the withering of youth’s roses, richer colours depict the life that still courses through the singer’s veins. Meanwhile sweeping right-hand phrases suggest the orchestra that Strauss probably had in mind, although they are also typical of his more rhetorical piano-writing. For once prepared to tackle a poem already set by Schubert (as Greisengesang, D778), Strauss here achieves one of his finest, if least-known songs.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2009

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