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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: 1 minutes 52 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)

Wie singt die Lerche schön, S312 Second version
late 1850s; LW N51
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the poet of Wie singt die Lerche schön, was a close friend of Liszt and Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein in Weimar (Marie d’Agoult and the composer came to a bitter parting of ways in 1844). When Liszt founded the Neu-Weimar-Verein (the New Weimar Society) in 1854 for the purpose of defending new music from the Philistines who decried it, Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the society’s Twelve Commandments, including No 11: ‘Enough of the old; we hope for something new in Weimar’. The poet’s image of the ‘lark ascending’ clearly gave Liszt the idea for the impressionistic sonorities from which this small, lovely song is made.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2010

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