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Track(s) taken from CDA67645

Lob des hohen Verstandes

First line:
Einstmals in einem tiefen Tal
21-28 June 1896; subsequently published as No 10 of Des Knaben Wunderhorn (also called Humoresken)
author of text
Wettstreit des Kuckucks mit der Nachtigall, from Des Knaber Wunderhorn

Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: February 2007
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Produced by Teije van Geest
Engineered by Teije van Geest
Release date: January 2008
Total duration: 2 minutes 50 seconds

Cover artwork: Apotheosis (detail) by Sergius Hruby (1869-1943)
Private Collection; reproduced by kind permission of the copyright holders, Whitford & Hughes, UK / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Deeply affecting … warmly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Stephan Genz's light, warm and cultured baritone is especially fine in reflecting the ghost voices and moonlight serenades of Mahler's folk-inspired anthology … this is the first time that I've heard a male voice take on 'Urlicht' … and its quiet serenity, as in 'Wo die schonen trompeten blasen', is what Genz does best' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Urlicht is beautifully sung … and Vignoles's playing is remarkably expressive throughout' (The Sunday Times)

'The charm of Mahler's Lieder-composing style—so close to Schubert's—comes across beautifully. Stephan Genz is more than just a very fine singer: his precision, sensitivity and range of imagination proclaim him a true successor to the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. And Vignoles's booklet note is an informative pleasure in itself' (Classic FM Magazine)

'This performance is a revelation, the simplicity of the piano setting and the serenity of Genz's performance casting a benediction on the entire program … Genz and Vignoles have produced a worthy successor' (Fanfare, USA)

'There are a number of other collections available … but none of these has the clear and unambiguous sound that this Hyperion release has, especially the excellent piano balance, and Genz sings with a definite point of view and a nice sense of characterization. You have to have one of the orchestral versions, but you will also find much satisfaction in Mahler’s superbly realized piano version as well, and this recording will serve many needs' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Roger Vignoles palpably revels in the task of conjuring a full Mahlerian orchestra … this CD is partly a demonstration of Genz's technique in this repertoire: the tone remains firm at even the most intimate levels and, most importantly, he binds consonants and vowels into the singing line, so that the lied emerges as a form of heightened speech. But it's a measure of Genz's sensitivity that one doesn't hear simply a great lieder singer at work. Instead, the entire set, with its panoply of characters, emanates from a recognizably 'Wunderhorn' persona—direct, ingenuous, fully in tune with the material's folklore-ish nature' (Opera News)

'It is a recording that seems, above all, to be characterised by enormous intelligence and sensitivity, from both singer and pianist … most prefer to here these songs in Mahler's brilliant and scathing orchestral versions but the artistry on show here makes me glad to hear them in the intimate, piano-only versions … this disc, then, allows us to experience these wonderful songs close-up in all their variety, humour and pathos. Highly Recommended' (Musical Criticism.com)

'This is a vibrant rendering of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn in the versions for voice and piano, a setting which requires the idiomatic approach Vignoles uses for the accompaniment and the nuanced tone Genz uses to evoke a sense of chamber music. Lacking the sonorous orchestral accompaniment, the singer is more exposed, and this allows Genz to display his vocal finesse well' (Opera Today, USA)

'Vignoles's pianism is so persuasive that one hardly misses the orchestral versions. In Revelge, for instance, his accompaniment to the song about the marching soldier has a suitably martial quality, while his playing of the lowest register of the piano to represent the drum rolls at the beginning of Der Tamboursg'sell is eerie and unforgettable. Genz, meanwhile, provides a well-characterised interpretation, his voice superbly controlled both in the vehemence of the prisoner's defiance in Lied des Verfolgten im Turm and in the beautiful pianissimos of Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen' (MusicOHM.com)
Lob des hohen Verstandes is one of the comic gems of the set. In one of his earlier Wunderhorn songs, Ablösung im Sommer, Mahler had humorously portrayed the transfer of vocal responsibility from cuckoo to nightingale with the passing of spring into summer. In Lob des hohen Verstandes the two avian songsters are in direct competition, and the chirpy C major is surely intended to suggest the pomposity of an ornithological Meistersinger. Academic scales and trilling cadences, the airy piping of the birds and the bucking and braying of the donkey, comic repetitions (‘Ohren groß, Ohren groß’) and throat-clearing pauses all contribute to the general air of naïve humour. At the end the donkey delivers his judgement with the fatuous lack of self-doubt of the truly stupid.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2008

Lob des hohen Verstandes est l’un des bijoux comiques du corpus. Dans Ablösung im Sommer, autre lied wunderhornien, Mahler avait déjà évoqué avec humour la passation de l’autorité vocale entre le coucou et le rossignol, au tournant du printemps et de l’été. Dans Lob des hohen Verstandes, les deux oiseaux chanteurs sont en compétition directe, et le guilleret ut majeur est sûrement là pour suggérer les manières pompeuses d’un Meistersinger avien. Les gammes académiques et les cadences qui trillent, l’insouciant gazouillis des oiseaux, les ruades et le braiement de l’âne, le comique des répétitions («Ohren groß, Ohren groß») et les pauses pour s’éclaircir la voix, tout cela concourt à l’humour naïf de cette pièce. À la fin, l’âne rend son verdict, avec cette béate absence de doute propre aux vrais idiots.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Vignoles © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Lob des hohen Verstandes ist im Gegensatz dazu eine der komischen Juwelen der Sammlung. In einem seiner füheren Wunderhorn-Lieder, Ablösung im Sommer, hatte Mahler humorvoll die Übertragung der Gesangsverpflichtungen beim Wechsel vom Frühling zum Sommer vom Kuckuck auf die Nachtigall beschrieben. In Lob des hohen Verstandes wetteifern die beiden Vogelsänger direkt miteinander, und das zwitschernde C-Dur soll bestimmt den Pomp einer Vogelvariante der Meistersinger andeuten. Akademische Skalen und trillernde Kadenzen, luftiges Piepsen der Vögel und das Bocken und Gebrüll des Esels, komische Wiederholungen („Ohren groß, Ohren groß“) und Pausen zum Räuspern tragen allesamt zum naiven Humor bei. Am Ende verkündet der Esel sein Urteil mit dem törichten Mangel an Selbstzweifel der wahrhaft Dummen.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Vignoles © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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