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Hyperion Records

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Watching the Geese by Paul Wilhelm Keller-Reutlingen (1854-1920)
Sotheby’s Picture Library
Track(s) taken from CDH55389
Recording details: February 2002
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Produced by Teije van Geest
Engineered by Teije van Geest
Release date: November 2002
Total duration: 9 minutes 17 seconds

'A fascinating recital' (Gramophone)

'It would be hard to imagine these virtually unknown songs better performed than here' (The Daily Telegraph)

'A very attractive programme … superbly controlled singing that goes right to the heart of Wolf's spontaneous response to the poetry' (International Record Review)

'[Genz] has a chocolate-honey sound, an ability to colour his voice with every shade of emotion, and a thrilling dramatic presence' (Classic FM Magazine)

'In sum, another top-of-the-line issue—confirming yet again that Hyperion has consistently the best production values in the business—and, for Wolf's admirers, another indispensable album' (Fanfare, USA)

'The programme is sung throughout with easeful tonal beauty; and Roger Vignoles is at his glorious best as he reveals the wonders of Wolf’s writing for the piano' (Musical Opinion)

'Stefan Genz aborde ces œuvres avec le timbre franc et agréable qu’on lui connaît' (Répertoire, France)

First line:
Friedlicher Abend senkt sich aufs Gefilde
January to February 1877
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Abendbilder is a distinct curiosity, in which Wolf strings together three separate odes of Lenau as a continuous narrative, evoking the atmosphere of a Classical landscape. If it has a precedent, it is in some of the longer and more episodic songs of Schubert, or in the more illustrative sections of Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons. For Wolf, the music may seem unexpectedly ingenuous, but this is in keeping with the pietistic mood of the text. Simple in harmony, with most of the interest centred on the piano part, it conjures up in turn a dramatic moonrise, a sequence of rather comically chromatic sheepbells, the eventual setting of the sun, and—particularly charmingly—the peaceful grazing of cattle (at ‘Schon verstummt die Matte’). All of this is clearly orchestral in inspiration: there is even a suggestion of Wagnerian high strings à la Lohengrin just before the herdsman’s prayer brings the somewhat rambling structure to a satisfying close by reprising the music of the opening section.

Abendbilder was composed during the two months before Wolf’s seventeenth birthday in March 1877.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2002

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