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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Matthew Polenzani by Sim Canetty-Clarke (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDA67782
Recording details: February 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2010
Total duration: 2 minutes 20 seconds

'Polenzani is evidently a tenor of the finest quality: a lyric voice, sweet and ingratiating, with the capacity to ring out excitingly, gloriously easy on high but with a perfectly adequate body to the tone in its middle and lower registers. He is firm and even, pleasingly expressive … he sings with warmth, intelligence and conviction, matching the superb playing of his pianist Julius Drake' (Gramophone)

'Polenzani remains an extraordinarily communicative Lieder singer, possessed of an agile and flexible voice of tremendous versatility. In the most intimate of these settings, as well as in the quasi-operatic ones, Polenzani and Drake create performances that are at once thoughtful, richly atmospheric and never less than compelling … this auspicious inauguration of the series whets the appetite for more' (International Record Review)

'This stupendous disc, issued ahead of the Liszt bicentenary next year, marks the start of Hyperion's survey of his complete songs, still a grey area for many despite past attempts by major artists such as Brigitte Fassbaender and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to rehabilitate them … as with so much of his music, their difficulty in performance is to be found in their emotional and expressive extremes. The challenges are more than met here, with Polenzani doing things in songs such as Der Fischerknabe or Pace Non Trovo that you never thought were possible for a human voice, while Drake's intensity is total and unswerving' (The Guardian)

In Liebeslust, S318
1858; LW N56
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1858 Liszt set to music a poem by his ‘dear, excellent friend’ Hoffmann von Fallersleben, whose elder son was named Franz in the composer’s honour: In Liebeslust. It was this poet who, in an ode in praise of the Altenburg (Liszt’s Weimar home), wrote ‘Es ist nicht eine Burg der Alten’ (‘It is not a refuge for the old’), to hymn the youthful hearts and forward-looking artistic sensibilities of those who congregated there. Liszt’s progressive, late-Romantic harmonies are on display here, complete with enharmonic key transformation in the penultimate section. The song is tightly unified by recurrences, transpositions, and metamorphoses of the three-note figure we hear at the start in the piano. For the proclamations ‘Ich liebe dich’ at the song’s climax, Liszt bids the singer to loudly declaim the words ‘ich lie—[be]’ (‘I love’) and then become hushed for the crucial word ‘dich’ (‘you’) in an example both of the contrasts Liszt loved and the emotional truth he sought.

from notes by Susan Youens İ 2010

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