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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDJ33101
Recording details: September 1995
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 13 minutes 34 seconds

'Schäfer evokes comparison with Elisabeth Schumann and with the young Elly Ameling, whom in tone and freshness of response she often resembles. In sum, a delectable, often revelatory recital … from a born Lieder singer' (Gramophone)

'Her voice combines ethereal radiance and clarity with resolute, unwavering focus. Johnson's account of the piano parts is superlative [and] his booklet notes are also exemplary—comprehensive, erudite, instructive—and deserve publication in their own right' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A young singer on the threshold of a potentially great career … A born Lieder singer … her fresh bright tone is a consistent joy' (The Sunday Times)

`This is one of the finest Lieder recordings I've ever heard … imaginatively and intelligently conceived, and superlatively achieved' (Fanfare, USA)

'It is hard to think of a more eloquent, dedicated partnership than Johnson's with the young German soprano Christine Schäfer here: pure, unaffected singing, in partnership with pianism of rare insight and beauty of tone and phrasing' (Hi-Fi News)

'There is much beauty in these songs and if they need first-class performers to reveal their glories they certainly have them here, with Schäfer's beautifully clear, shining, radiant voice, Johnson's warm and sensitive accompaniment, all wrapped in the wonderfully intimate acoustic that Hyperion always manages for its vocal discs. As with the Schubert series, Johnson's notes are a work of art in themselves, with deeply-thought insights on every page. He is truly a peerless representative of song' (The Singer)

'All now stand and salute! … In fine sonics and a most complete booklet in English plus the original German poems and translations, Hyperion deserve our thanks' (In Tune, Japan)

'Son premier enregistrement de Lieder de Schumann est d'emblée une réussie absolue. Avec le timbre à la fois le plus pur et le plus coloré, une ligne d'une souplesse parfaite et un contrôle idéal du souffle, de la nuance et de la mezza voce elle a d'emblée toutes les qualités d'une grande chanteuse de Lieder. Tout dans ce programme très varié est superlatif. N'oublions pas Graham Johnson dont on se demande s'il faut louer le plus son d'accompagnement constamment musical et passionnant ou ses notes de programmes sur le Lieder' (Répertoire, France)

'Ah, l'heureuse surprise! Mlle Schäfer, par la toute simple éloquence du moindre mot, du moindre son, ignore l'obstacle purement et simple. Eblouissant' (Diapason, France)

Sechs Gedichte und Requiem, Op 90
composer
1-5 August 1850

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
This cycle was the last work that Schumann composed in Dresden before his move to Düsseldorf. It has a strange history in that Schumann believed (mistakenly) that Lenau had died and added to the five settings of that poet a concluding ‘Requiem’ with an ‘old Catholic poem’. This gesture of mourning turned out to be prophetic: on the very day of the first performance in a gathering at the home of Schumann’s friend Bendemann (25 August 1850) news came that Lenau had in fact died. This turned out to be a mournful day in the Schumanns lives as their farewell to Dresden was darkened by a strangely disturbing coincidence. Schumann felt ‘as if I were tolling a passing-bell all unawares’. Clara Schumann noted in her diary: ‘The event, together with the songs put us all in melancholic mood …’ Because of Lenau's death Schumann was especially anxious to publish the songs as soon as possible. He wrote to the publisher Kistner: ‘One might decorate the title page with emblems of mourning such a black drape through which a star is visible … I should be pleased if you would help me to create a modest monument to the great but unfortunate poet. Knowing you, I am certain that you will find the appropriate design.’ In the event, Kistner complied with the composer’s wishes. Sams makes the point that Schumann might have especially identified with Lenau’s fate as a fellow-syphilitic.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

Other albums featuring this work
'Schumann: The Complete Songs' (CDS44441/50)
Schumann: The Complete Songs
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44441/50  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Le Bestiaire' (A66149)
Le Bestiaire
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) A66149  Archive Service (LP transfer)   This album is not available for download
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