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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: 3 minutes 2 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)

Schwebe, schwebe, blaues Auge, S305 Second version
composer
? 1848; LW N35
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Franz von Dingelstedt was known primarily for his political poetry, but Liszt in 1845 chose a more conventional love poem, Schwebe, schwebe, blaues Auge, in which the sweetheart’s blue eyes make springtime blossom and warble in the persona’s heart. The song was later revised, and this is the second version (?1848). When Dingelstedt was fired as intendant of the Munich court theatre on trumped-up charges in 1856, the generous Liszt helped him to obtain a similar post in Weimar, but two years later, Dingelstedt would be the prime mover and shaker in Liszt’s forced resignation as Kapellmeister in Weimar. When Liszt visited Weimar briefly in 1864, Dingelstedt behaved well, however, even reconvening the Neu-Weimar-Verein for the occasion. The sweetness regnant through much of this song is broken every few phrases or so by brief outbursts of ecstasy; in Liszt’s unique structure, tenderness alternates with exultation and excitement, quite like the actual experience of love in its early stages.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2010

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