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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: 5 minutes 22 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)

Angiolin dal biondo crin, S269 Third version
composer
? 1859; LW N1; published in 1860
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The words for Liszt’s first song, Angiolin dal biondo crin, were written by a friend of his, the Marchese Césare Boccella from Lucca, Tuscany. A light-pink damask rose introduced in 1842 was named ‘Marquise Boccella’ in honour of the poet’s wife, and this tender song, originally composed for Liszt’s and Marie d’Agoult’s three-year-old daughter Blandine-Rachel gives off something of the same flowery scent. The first version was published in 1843 by Schlesinger, but we hear the third version, published in 1860. (The novelist Anthony Trollope’s mother, Frances Trollope, visited Boccella on her Italian tour and praises a poem in which the Marquis scolds his friend George Sand for failing to meet properly elevated standards of womanhood.) Sadly, Blandine, who married a French statesman named Émile Ollivier, would die in 1862 at the age of twenty-six of septicaemia from an infected breast shortly after giving birth.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2010

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