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Hyperion Records

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Photograph of Kate Royal by Malcolm Crowthers
Track(s) taken from CDJ33110
Recording details: August 2006
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2007
Total duration: 25 minutes 55 seconds

'Royal's pure, pellucid tone, free-soaring top notes and refined musicianship give constant pleasure … abetted by Johnson's ever-sentient keyboard-playing, Royal reveals a true understanding of Schumann's Innigkeit … in the final 'Frülingsnacht', often rushed off its feet, she and Johnson catch the elusive mix of secretiveness and ecstasy as perfectly as I have heard' (Gramophone)

'In the Liederkries, Kate Royal, discerningly partnered by Johnson, sings with pure, luminous tone and eloquent phrasing … there are many memorable things here, including a hushed, rapt 'Mondnacht', and a truly ecstatic final 'Frülingsnacht' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Volume 10 … has as its centerpiece a wonderful rendition by Kate Royal of Liederkreis, Ms Royal … again delivers a performance that is remarkable for its intelligence, musicianship, and sheer beauty' (American Record Guide)

'Much of the singing is exceptionally lovely … 'Waldegespräch' amply displays the dramatic flair one expects of a fine operatic artist … Johnson accompanies with his wonted sensitivity and his booklet notes are, as usual, exhaustive in their detail … the engineering is immaculate' (International Record Review)

'This wonderful disc feels like an intimate salon performance by a group of close friends … Liederkries is sung with devotion … by rising wonder-woman Kate Royal … glorious duetting from Lott and Murray, ensemble fun from all the singers and a glimpse of Schumann towards the end of his tragic life in the Mädchenlieder—you don't realise how much you're learning about the composer's genius until it's all over' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Royal's professed affinity for the Lieder repertoire is more than borne out by the recording of Schumann's Eichendorff Liederkreis―[she] gives us everything: hers is a beautifully sung and deeply flet rendition from beginning to end, her specific responses to the words and their meaning never, ever becoming intrusive―the ideal balance of what one wants in performances of this cycle' (Fanfare, USA)

'A stunning achievement for Kate Royal, and another well-deserved feather in the Hyperion cap as this enthralling series continues … Kate Royal tones down some of her interpretations to reflect the genuinely intimate and reflectively pensive music to great effect, lovingly adjusting her voice to the needs of each word … highest recommendation' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'The program opens with the undervalued Liederkreis cycle … Royal infuses these brief intuitions of forest walks, foreign lands and a 'Moonlit Night' with a glowing musical poetry. Even the sparest, quietest songs hold a sense of vigor and wondrous apprehension' (San Francisco Chronicle)

Liederkreis, Op 39
composer
1-20 May & 22 June 1840
author of text
from Viel Lärmen um nichts, Ahnung und Gegenwart, and Dichter und ihre Gesellen

Other recordings available for download
Margaret Price (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In early May 1840—the ‘wunderschöne Monat’ that also saw the creation of Dichterliebe—Schumann turned to the quintessential poet of German Romanticism, Joseph, Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857), for another ‘song circle’. In a letter to Clara he called the twelve songs that make up the Liederkreis, Op 39 ‘my most romantic music ever, with much of you in it, dearest Clara’. Drawing variously on poems from Eichendorff’s stories Viel Lärmen um nichts (‘Much ado about nothing’) and Ahnung und Gegenwart (‘Present and Presentiment’), and his novel Dichter und ihre Gesellen (‘Poets and their companions’), these twelve vignettes are linked by recurrent, typically Eichendorffian themes—loss and loneliness, nocturnal mystery and menace, memory and antiquity, wistful reverie and rapturous soaring—and by thematic cross-references, usually veiled, occasionally explicit, as with the use of the same motif at the start of No 7 (‘Auf einer Burg’) and No 8 (‘In der Fremde’). With the Eichendorff Liederkreis Schumann virtually invented a new type of song: the romantic night-piece, serene, ecstatic or ominous.

The opening ‘In der Fremde’ is typical in its expression of estrangement and nostalgia amid a dark, woodland landscape. Schumann’s tune has a haunting pathos, discreetly heightened by its gently rippling arpeggio accompaniment. The German forest is at its most sinister in ‘Waldesgespräch’ (No 3), a variation on the Lorelei myth, with its dramatically timed moment of recognition and ironically echoing hunting-horns (dying away eerily in the piano postlude), and again in ‘Zwielicht’ (No 10). Here the keyboard part coils around the voice like a tortuous Bach three-part invention, with an oppressive chromaticism that threatens to dissolve familiar tonal outlines. ‘Auf einer Burg’ evokes a mysterious antiquity with its gloomy, incantatory vocal line, modal harmonies and solemn touches of canonic imitation. In the penultimate song, ‘Im Walde’, the wedding and the hunt, evoked as if through a gauze in Schumann’s music, suddenly fade, leaving only the sighing forest and the poet’s nameless fears amid the darkening inner and outer landscapes.

At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Intermezzo’ (No 2) is an increasingly impassioned avowal of love to Clara, growing from a falling five-note figure Schumann often associated with her. ‘Die Stille’ is a more secretive—and feminine—confession (the German title means both ‘stillness’ and ‘the silent girl’), with a sudden soaring at ‘Ich wünscht’, ich wär’ ein Vöglein’. ‘Schöne Fremde’ (No 6) and ‘Frühlingsnacht’(No 12), with its evanescent wisps of countermelody and triumphant final ‘sie ist Dein!’, are shimmering visions of physical and spiritual elation, while ‘Mondnacht’ (No 5) is perhaps the world’s loveliest vocal nocturne. Here Schumann magically delays the resolution on to the tonic chord until ‘Die Erde’ in bar ten, the moment of mystical-erotic union between sky and earth, Robert and Clara.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2012


Other albums featuring this work
'Schumann: Kerner Lieder & Liederkreis' (CDH55011)
Schumann: Kerner Lieder & Liederkreis
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55011  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39' (CDA67944)
Schumann: Liederkreis Opp 24 & 39
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00 CDA67944  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'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)  
'Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night
'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1' (HYP12)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1
This album is not yet available for download HYP12  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  

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