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Hyperion Records

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The Fisherman and the Syren: From a ballad by Goethe (1857) by Frederic Leighton (1830-1896)
© Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67866
Recording details: May 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2011
Total duration: 6 minutes 13 seconds

'As for the singing, I cannot praise it too highly. Florian Boesch has a warmly attractive baritone voice and his diction is first class, as is his response to the word meanings. Roger Vignoles's accompaniments, too, give great pleasure in themselves, especially in the pictorial devices which Loewe so relishes. The recording, as we expect from Hyperion, is first-class … if you are new to Loewe's music, I do urge you to try this richly rewarding CD. You won't be disappointed' (Gramophone)

'Boesch's performance demonstrates huge imaginative variety in characterisation … in such ways, Boesch emulates Loewe's own reputation, singing to his own accompaniment, as an 'actor-singer'. Vignoles matches him in playing of perception in what is pretty well an ideal introduction to a fascinating figure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is no better introduction to this great song composer; there are scarcely any more perfect song recitals on disc' (Classical Music)

Herr Oluf, Op 2 No 2
composer
1821
author of text
traditional Danish
translator of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Like Erlkönig, Herr Oluf (1821) draws on the sixteenth-century Danish legend in which anyone who encounters elves is doomed to die. (Herder, incidentally, mistranslates the Danish eller (= ‘elf’) as Erle (= ‘alder tree’).) The piano introduction suggests the lure of the fairy dance and tinkling bells. Then the Erlking’s daughter introduces herself with solemn formality. But the diminished seventh chord on ‘Hand’ gives an ominous warning; and her siren song, marked pp sotto voce, creates a subtly sinister effect by rising through a minor-keyed arpeggio but landing on the leading note, a semitone below the expected tonic. After the frantic horse ride of the central verses and the anxious questioning of Oluf’s mother, a graceful Andantino evokes the innocence of Oluf’s bride. But the Erlking’s daughter has done her work. And, in a final stroke, Oluf’s death comes in a phrase that slyly inverts the fatal seduction song.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011

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