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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: 6 minutes 18 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)

Muttergottes-Sträusslein zum Mai-Monate, S316
1857; LW N54
author of text
The violet, symbolizing 'Our Lady's Modesty'; The cowslips, symbolizing 'Our Lady's Keys'

Introduction  EnglishDeutsch
Liszt shunned song cycles but would on occasion group two or three songs on texts by the same poet. One example is the Muttergottes-Sträusslein zum Mai-Monate by the Aachen poet Joseph Müller, based on the medieval tradition of the ‘Mary Garden’ planted with flowers symbolic of the Virgin’s qualities. In a letter to Carolyne on 22 May 1857, Liszt recounted Müller’s gift of ‘a small miscellany of Catholic poetry’, and on 2 August he announced his intention of setting two poems ‘which will have the simplicity of the rosary’: ‘Das Veilchen’ (‘The violet’, ‘Our Lady’s Modesty’) and ‘Die Schlüsselblumen’ (‘The cowslips’, ‘Our Lady’s Keys’, symbolic of ‘winning grace’). In ‘Das Veilchen’ Liszt directs the singer to sing half-voice and indicates that a harmonium can be used in place of a piano. The ultra-Romantic progression of harmonies that rise by the interval of a third appears in the interior of each stanza. ‘Winning grace’ is evident in the piano introduction of ‘Die Schlüsselblumen’, linked in various harmonic ways to the song of the violet.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2012

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