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Track(s) taken from CDA67762

Drei Gesänge, Op 111b

four-part unaccompanied upper voices; dedicated to the Hamburger Frauenquartett

Consortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor)
Recording details: September 2009
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Andrew Mellor
Release date: November 2010
Total duration: 2 minutes 8 seconds

Cover artwork: The Storm (1911) by August Macke (1887-1914)
Saarland Museum, Saarbrucken / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This disc yields up … secrets too long hidden from the public consciousness. Hyperion deserves a large vote of thanks for bringing both to our attention … [Der Einsiedler] the shifting chromatic sands of this baritone solo, presented with delectable poise by Alexander Learmonth, and its intense accommpaniment, tackled with breathtaking sensitivity by pianist Christopher Glynn … the second secret here is the four-year-old choir, Consortium … their singing is sensitive and technically impressive. Andrew-John Smith draws from them an infinitely subtle dynamic range and some impeccably moulded phrasing which certainly serves Reger uncommonly well. One suspects this repertoire could have found no finer exponents to bring it to public attention' (Gramophone)

'Reger's choral music, like so much of his output, is too little known. So Consortium's new disc … is to be warmly welcomed … I found this disc most enjoyable … the recording is of Hyperion's customary excellence, with performances to match' (Choir & Organ)

'If there are still a few timid souls out there who fear Max Reger's music as dark forests of gnarled and knotty chromatic counterpoint, here's the CD to conquer their prejudices … these wistful, autumnal choral works caress the ear and the soul' (International Record Review)

'One of those recordings that immediately stops you in your tracks. The performances are fine indeed, but more than anything, it's the music itself that strikes you—it's both utterly unique and breathtakingly beautiful … [The Hermit] the voices slip and slide smoothly through unexpected keys, gently encouraged by a breakaway baritone soloist. It's luxurious, exotic, unusual and so very evocative … [Three Six-Part Songs] it's here that Reger's music starts to move from inherent yearning to palpable despair. To bring that off, you need a choir that isn't just technically accomplished but can also conjure intense drama, and Andrew-John Smith's group is perfectly suited to it. The voices blend well but are never overly polite; this is passionate rather than devotional, and you sense the fine gradations of the composer's emotional intensity … unmissable' (Classic FM Magazine)

'A wonderful disc this, and a testament to yet another undervalued dimension of the artistry of Max Reger. Very few of the common complaints about Reger's music apply here: the music is consistently inspired, often light, elegant and wholly free from the stodginess that blights so many of his organ works' (MusicWeb International)
The three songs for unaccompanied four-part women’s choir that make up Op 111b employ a diverse range of styles within their modest proportions. The first song is set entirely homophonically; this almost medieval effect, reinforced by the curious dissonances that precede each cadence, is an appropriate response to the text, which Will Vesper (1892–1962) based on an anonymous twelfth-century Mittelhochdeutsch song. The second song, a setting of ‘Abendgang im Lenz’ by Hedwig Kiesekamp (1844–1919), writing under the pseudonym L Rafael, reverts to the chromatic harmony we more customarily associate with Reger. The final song, meanwhile, uses a text by Eduard Mörike (1804–1875) that had previously been set by Schumann and Wolf, among many others: part of its appeal to musicians must lie in its invocation of the soft sound of ‘a distant harp’—a sound effectively conjured up by Reger with a rare sustained consonant chord.

from notes by Michael Downes © 2010

Les trois lieder pour chœur de femmes à quatre parties, a cappella de l’op. 111b recourent, dans leurs modestes dimensions, à tout un éventail stylistique. Le premier lied est entièrement homophonique; cet effet quasi médiéval, renforcé par les curieuses dissonances précédant chaque cadence, répond idéalement au texte que Will Vesper (1892–1962) fonda sur un chant anonyme du XIIe siècle, en Mittelhochdeutsch. Le deuxième lied, qui met en musique «Abendgang im Lenz» de Hedwig Kiesekamp, alias L. Rafael (1844–1919), revient à l’harmonie chromatique plus ordinairement associée à Reger. Le dernier lied, lui, emploie un texte d’Eduard Mörike (1804–1875) auparavant musiqué par Schumann et Wolf, entre autres, une partie de son attrait auprès des musiciens venant sûrement de son évocation, «dans le lointain», d’«un doux son de harpe»—un son que Reger fait sourdre d’un rare accord consonant tenu.

extrait des notes rédigées par Michael Downes © 2010
Français: Hypérion

Die drei Lieder für unbegleiteten vierstimmigen Frauenchor op. 111b verarbeiten innerhalb ihrer bescheidenen Proportionen eine breite Vielfalt von Stilmitteln. Das erste Lied ist durchgängig homophon, und dieser fast mittelalterliche Effekt, der vor jeder Kadenz durch seltsame Dissonanzen verstärkt wird, ist eine angemessene Behandlung des Texts, den Will Vesper (1892–1962) aus einem anonymen mittelhochdeutschen Gedicht aus dem 12. Jahrhundert bezog. Das zweite Lied, eine Vertonung des Gedichts „Abendgang im Lenz“ von Hedwig Kiesekamp (1844–1919), die unter dem Pseudonym L. Rafael schrieb, kehrt zu der uns gewohnten chromatischen Harmonie von Reger zurück. Das letzte Lied verarbeitet einen Text von Eduard Mörike (1804–1875), der bereits, unter anderen, von Schumann und Wolf vertont worden war und dessen Anziehungskraft für Musiker wahrscheinlich in der Beschwörung von Ferne und leisen Harfentönen liegt, die Reger sehr wirkungsvoll mit einem seltenen ausgehaltenen Konsonanzakkord herbeizaubert.

aus dem Begleittext von Michael Downes © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

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