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Track(s) taken from CDA67392

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

author of text

Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: January 2003
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 15 minutes 52 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano), Simon Lepper (piano)


'This disc shows Stephan Genz entering his fourth decade with all the light suppleness and ardour of his youthful recordings, but now with darker colours and firmer bass ballast folding into his baritone. His intuitive musical partnership with Roger Vignoles is as sentient and perceptive as ever; and together they uncover the dark, sensual mysteries of the late-Rommantic response to the natural world' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A rich sonorous eloquence from Genz, while Vignoles musters a full range of orchestral colours. Piano accompaniment lends these works a more personal, intimate feel, turning this generous disc into a pensive, rewarding journey through the many complex moods of Mahler's inner life' (The Observer)

'Even in this golden age of Lieder singers, Stephan Genz has few rivals for easeful beauty of tone and acuteness of insight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Stephen Genz is an excellent light baritone whose timbre reminds me sometimes of one of his teachers, Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, and whose interpretations are like Fischer-Diskau's earlier ones,before he began to over-interpret … highly recommended' (American Record Guide)

'This is an extremely enjoyable disc, which casts a lot of light on even those songs of Mahler which were written to be accompanied orchestrally … Genz is singing a cycle to which he is utterly suited, and the effect is magical' (International Record Review)

'Stephen Genz relies on subtle shading, verbal refinement and a lightness of touch to interpret a generous selection of Mahlerian masterpieces' (Classic FM Magazine)

'What surpassingly magnificent music this is, and what a superbly intelligent display of Western high-art at its most poignant from Genz and Vignoles. I just can't stop playing the disc. Endless pleasure, endless sorrow, endless beauty' (Fanfare, USA)
Mahler himself wrote the texts for Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, modelling them on the style of the Wunderhorn poems. Thus the journeying apprentice of the title is a stock character whose tale of unrequited love is drawn in simple imagery that also recalls Schubert’s Müller cycles (as in the reference to his sweetheart’s blue eyes, or the linden-tree beneath whose branches he finally finds peace). Incidentally, the customary English translation, Songs of a Wayfarer, is somewhat misleading, suggesting as it does a generalized traveller, rather than a member of a traditionally itinerant workforce—what in English used to be known as a ‘journeyman’.

In the first song, Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht, the rustic setting is immediately audible in the asymmetrical piping of the wedding dance and in the calling of the birds, clearly differentiated from the sustained sonorities of the lover’s lament, which begins by withdrawing into itself, but then cannot help opening up again in widely arching phrases expressive of his grief. In Ging heut morgen übers Feld—which Mahler reused substantially in the First Symphony—he shakes off the gloom, under the influence of a bright summer morning. In the piano part all is burgeoning nature and bright fanfares of birdsong; only at the end does the contrast with his own lost happiness become too much for him.

Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer is the storm at the heart of the cycle, its emotional turmoil expressed in an exceptional vocal range from low D to high G and searing chromatics over stark open fifths in the bass. In the quiet central section ‘Wenn ich in dem Himmel seh’’, devotees of Schubert would not need Mahler’s own orchestration to recognize the two horns that represent the vision of two blue eyes. But the sepulchral E flat minor of the postlude, with its scurrying triplets, is pure Mahler. The final song, Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz, begins as a funeral march, but ends as a vision of emotional sublimation and release, the E minor of the opening yielding to an almost seraphic F major melody whose triadic contours are designed to release all the possible harmonic overtones of the accompanying pedal-point in the piano. By the end the funeral march has become a distant echo, suggesting a comparable emotional distancing of the singer from his grief.

from notes by Roger Vignoles 2004

Die Texte zu Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen schrieb Mahler selbst, wobei ihm der Stil der Wunderhorn-Gedichte Modell stand. So ist der fahrende Geselle des Titels ein Standard-Charakter, dessen Geschichte von unerwiderter Liebe in einfachen Bildern gezeichnet ist, die auch an Schuberts Müller-Zyklen erinnern (wie etwa mit der Anspielung auf die blauen Augen seines Schatzes, oder dem Lindenbaum, unter dessen Zweigen er schließlich Frieden findet).

Im ersten Lied, Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht, ist der rustikale Schauplatz sofort im asymmetrischen Flöten des Hochzeitstanzes und den Rufen der Vögel hörbar, und er wird deutlich von den gehaltenen Klängen der Klage des Liebenden abgesetzt, einer Klage, die mit einem Rückzug auf sich selbst beginnt, dann aber nicht anders kann, als sich in weit ausholenden Phrasen, die seinem Schmerz Ausdruck verleihen, zu öffnen. In Ging heut morgen übers Feld, einem Lied, auf das Mahler in seiner Ersten Symphonie umfangreich zurückgriff, wirft der Erzähler angesichts eines hellen Sommermorgens seine düstere Stimmung ab. Der Klavierpart ist voll sprießender Natur und fröhlichem Vogelgesang; erst zum Schluß überwältigt ihn der Kontrast zu seinem eigenen verlorenen Glück.

Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer stellt den Sturm im Herzen dieses Zyklus’ dar, dessen emotionaler Aufruhr mit Hilfe eines außergewöhnlichen Stimmumfangs vom tiefen D bis zum hohen G und glühender Chromatik über harten offenen Quinten im Baß zum Ausdruck kommt. Im leisen Mittelteil „Wenn ich in dem Himmel seh’“ würden Schubert-Verehrer nicht der Orchestrierung Mahlers bedürfen, um die beiden Hörner, welche die Vision zweier blauer Augen symbolisieren, zu erkennen. Das düstere es-Moll des Nachspiels mit seinen huschenden Triolen ist jedoch wieder reiner Mahler. Das letzte Lied, Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz, beginnt als Trauermarsch, endet jedoch als Vision emotionaler Sublimierung und Erlösung, in der das e-Moll des Anfangs einer fast seraphischen Melodie in F-Dur weicht, deren dreiklangartige Konturen alle nur möglichen harmonischen Obertöne des begleitenden Orgelpunkts im Klavier freisetzen sollen. Zum Schluß ist der Trauermarsch nur noch ein entferntes Echo, was nahelegt, daß sich der Sänger in vergleichbarem Maße emotional von seinem Schmerz distanziert hat.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Vignoles 2004
Deutsch: Bettina Reinke-Welsh

Other albums featuring this work

Mahler: Totenfeier & Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
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Mahler & Mahler: Lieder
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