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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: 4 minutes 14 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)

Die stille Wasserrose, S321
composer
1860; LW N59
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The poet-translator Emanuel Geibel (Schumann, Brahms and Wolf, among others, would set poems from his Spanisches Liederbuch and Italienisches Liederbuch) creates his own variation on the symbolism of swans for male lovers—those phallic necks—and water-lilies for beautiful women in Die stille Wasserrose. The harmonic shifts that mark the snow-white calyx of the lily and the moon pouring its golden rays into the flower are among the notable details in a song remarkable for its tonal audacity. Hugo Wolf, who loved Liszt’s music, would later create figuration similar to that depicting the circling swan for the shy elf at midnight in ‘Auf eine Christblume I’ from the Mörike-Lieder.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2010

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