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Hyperion Records

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A Summer Night (1890) by Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893)
Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67844
Recording details: January 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2012
Total duration: 3 minutes 41 seconds

'Vignoles plays the often extended introductions and postludes … quite magically, to say nothing of the extended interludes … my pleasure in this latest volume is without any reservations. Elizabeth Watts sings gloriously, rising fluently to the high tessitura of Strauss's melodic lines (immediately obvious in the first few songs included in the recital). Her beautiful voice, sensitive phrasing and response to word-meanings are consistently rewarding and her partnership with Roger Vignoles could hardly be more beautifully balanced' (Gramophone)

'Watts takes flight in this repertoire, her warm, generous soprano broadening into a luscious, creamy-toned wonder. Tonal glamour? You bet' (The Guardian)

'Watts has the full measure of the drama … she reveals herself as an accomplished Straussian throughout this recital and nowhere more so than in the very last song that the composer wrote, Malven, written for soprano Maria Jeritza in 1948 after he had finished the Vier letzte Lieder. A gift from one great artist to another and a fitting end to this admirable recording' (International Record Review)

Wer hat's gethan?, TrV142
First line:
Es steht ein Lied in Nacht und Frost
composer
Meiningen, 13 November 1885; WoO84a; first published in 1974
author of text

Introduction  EnglishDeutsch
For some reason this rather fine song remained unpublished in Strauss’s lifetime, and failed even to make it into the Complete Edition. It was composed in 1885, too late to be included with the eight other settings of Hermann von Gilm that made up Strauss’s precociously successful Opus 10, and a year before the next published set of songs, Opus 15. Darker in tone than any of the Op 10 songs (with the possible exception of Geduld) its funereally tolling octaves suggest a kinship with the Op 15 Michelangelo setting Madrigal—a song also addressed to a rejecting and inaccessible beloved. But in this case the canvas is far broader, not only in its continual suggestion of a wintry landscape, but also in the extended piano postlude that opens up in response to the final lines: ‘He did it, who in the field / Bedecks the lilies’. Remarkably, this peroration resembles nothing so much as the final pages of Lied der Frauen, the last of the Brentano-Lieder (see CDA67746), composed thirty-three years later. There is the same tonality, C major, the same sense of moving from darkness into light, the same orchestral sweep, and an almost identical final cadence. No other song of this period has anything like such an expansive play-out, which taken together with the rather abrupt change of tone in both poem and music—the Almighty making a rather surprising entrance in the last two lines—may have contributed to Strauss’s decision not to offer the song for publication. It was eventually published in 1974.

from notes by Roger Vignoles 2012

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