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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
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: 3 minutes 19 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)

Es war ein König in Thule, S278 Second version
1856; LW N9
author of text
Part I Scene 8 of Faust

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
‘The time has come for me (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita [Midway through the journey of life]—thirty-five years old!) to break out of my virtuoso’s chrysalis and allow my thoughts unfettered flight’, Liszt wrote, paraphrasing Dante’s Virgil, as he prepared to walk away from one of the most glittering concert careers in the history of music and move to Weimar—Goethe’s city—where he settled in 1848. For any Goethe-loving song composer, Faust was an inevitable source of inspiration, especially when its characters sing. In the eighth scene (entitled ‘Evening’) of Part I, the village girl Gretchen sings Es war ein König in Thule just before she discovers the casket of jewels that Faust and the diabolical Mephistopheles have left for her. ‘Ultima Thule’ was the legendary name for the ends of the earth, and this tiny ballad tells of a king faithful to his beloved beyond her death. Schubert had earlier told this tale in a pseudo-antique, starkly skeletal song (D367). Liszt’s second version, by contrast, tracks every twist and turn of the story in episodic ballad manner, complete with wistful reminiscences of folksong-like melody for the singer (although accompanied by progressive harmonies), pomp and circumstance for the king’s last banquet with his knights, and a dramatic descent into a watery grave.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2012

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