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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Angelika Kirchschlager by Sim Canetty-Clarke (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDA67934
Recording details: October 2011
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Simon Kiln
Engineered by Arne Akselberg
Release date: July 2012
Total duration: 2 minutes 35 seconds

'Finding a wide palette of colours within her naturally warm mezzo, Kirchschlager is in her element … this recital should open many ears to the richness and variety of Liszt's songs. Recording and presentation are first-class' (Gramophone)

'The more one hears of Liszt's songs, the more one wonders why they have been so rarely performed … Kirchschlager's rich, resonant mezzo finds beauties everywhere on this disc, from heights of drama to intimacies of reflection, and at every turn Drake is with her' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is a fascinating and rewarding recital, which explores Liszt’s oeuvre from the 1840s to 1870s … the grainy and distinctive timbre of Kirchschlager’s vivid mezzo-soprano is well suited to this highly charged emotional world, and Drake’s playing is eloquently impassioned without sinking to fortissimo ham' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Hyperion's retrospective of Liszt's complete songs [is] one of the most important recording projects of recent years … Kirchschlager is exquisite and intensely dramatic by turns … Drake is outstanding throughout' (The Guardian)

'The high expectations roused by Volume 1 of Hyperion's compete Liszt songs … are more than met with this second instalment … the programme is excellently chosen to showcase Liszt's versatility as a master of Romantic song … Kirchschlager's extraordinary dramatic gifts are displayed in the two longest songs here, Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher and Die drei Zigeuner … rich new levels of meaning are revealed … Kirchschlager and Drake deliver performances that set the beauty and inventiveness of each song in high relief … not to be missed' (International Record Review)

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, S309 First setting, first version
composer
1845/60; LW N36
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The friendship between Liszt and the prickly genius Heinrich Heine was largely over by the time the first version of Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam was created, but even so Liszt could recognize the invitations to music in Heine’s unique poetic voice. Heine finds a memorable image for the fascination of German poets (fir trees in frozen climes) with exoticism (the palm tree on burning southern sands)—what a clever variation on the mountaintop perspective and the theme of the distant beloved prevalent in Romanticism. In Liszt’s first setting of this popular poem we hear brooding darkness and chromatic profundity enveloping the fir tree, while the brief idyllic dream of exotic objects of desire begins with the repeated treble chords that often signal Lisztian dreaming—or heavenly realms. Perhaps the most striking difference between this first setting and its much later revision is in the endings; this version ends by recalling the close of Schubert’s Heine song Ihr Bild (similar loud dynamics, similar descending bass line, similar final major chord). The bar of silence before the ending is another Schubertian touch.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2012

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