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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: 3 minutes 31 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)

Erlkönig, Op 1 No 3
First line:
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
composer
1/1/1817
author of text
from the 1782 play Die Fischerin; adapted from a Danish folk ballad

Other recordings available for download
Gerald Finley (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction  EnglishDeutsch
The poem of 'Erlkönig'—adapted from a Danish folk ballad—comes from a little-known Goethe play with music, Die Fischerin, performed at the Weimar court in 1782. The fisher-girl of the title, Dortchen, sings it softly to herself one evening as she mends her nets. What Goethe expected (and, in Weimar, got) was a simple quasi-folk tune repeated for each verse. Schubert in 1815 recreated the poem in music of searing dramatic power. Loewe’s song, composed two years later, is less violently ‘interventionist’ than Schubert’s, more faithful to the externals of the narrative—doubtless part of its appeal to Goethe—but hardly less powerful. Wagner, for one, far preferred the Loewe setting. Where Schubert immediately establishes an atmosphere of panic with the feverishly pounding hooves, Loewe initially depicts the eerily rustling leaves, with the galloping motion merely implied. Only after the father’s first, comforting words to the sick boy does the galloping rhythm become explicit. The hypnotically repeated nursery tune for the Erlking’s words acquires a seductive-sinister twist from the flicking grace notes; and while Loewe’s song is generally more restrained than Schubert’s, his ending, conversely, is more melodramatic, with pregnant silences and a ‘shock’ diminished seventh chord on ‘tot’.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011


Other albums featuring this work
'Schubert: The Complete Songs' (CDS44201/40)
Schubert: The Complete Songs
MP3 £130.00FLAC £130.00ALAC £130.00Buy by post £150.00 CDS44201/40  40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Songs by Schubert's contemporaries' (CDJ33051/3)
Songs by Schubert's contemporaries

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