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Track(s) taken from CDA68010

Lied 'Die Mutter Erde', D788

First line:
Des Lebens Tag ist schwer und schwühl
April 1823; published in 1838
author of text

Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: November 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: February 2014
Total duration: 4 minutes 3 seconds

Cover artwork: The Wanderer Above the Sea of Mist (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)

Other recordings available for download

Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)


'Florian Boesch is the kind of baritone who, once heard, makes you want to hear him in any and all repertoire appropriate to his voice. A more alluringly rich voice than Christian Gerhaher’s is hard to imagine until hearing Boesch, who has a greater capacity for soft singing, maintaining an interpretatively interesting tone even in pianissimos … Boesch isn’t the sort of singer who tells you what to think or feel in this music. He lays it out with hugely attractive (and protracted) clarity and then lets you enter the music a fuller participant' (Gramophone)

'Boesch's singing is faultless: he's in fine voice and marvellously alert to every verbal nuance, without ever fracturing the line for the sake of the text. Vignoles, playing some of Schubert's most taxing accompaniments, tirelessly matches his every emotional shift. Very fine' (The Guardian)» More

'Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles are two of the best performers of Lieder in our time … Boesch sings with the gentle sadness which pervades most of the songs that follow, his rich, true baritone voice reflective rather than assertive, the words all the more moving for the restraint with which they are delivered … this fine disc, pervaded with sadness though it is, has a great deal to offer those who love Schubert’s songs. There is an excellent booklet note by Richard Wigmore, and his own very good translations' (International Record Review)» More

'The Romantic outsider fated or choosing to live beyond the bounds of society is the main theme of this striking collection. Boesch, who recently released a powerfully convincing Schöne Müllerin cycle, has an ideal voice, at once dark and dazzling, and his accompanist —except that Schubert's rich, inventive piano parts are so much more than accompaniments—is perfect' (The Sunday Times)» More
In the summer of 1825 Schubert, on holiday in the mountain town of Steyr, wrote a letter home to his parents in which he regretted his brother Ferdinand's tendency to hypochondria and fear of death: 'If only he could once see these heavenly mountains and lakes, the sight of which threatens to crush or engulf us, he would not be so attached to puny human life, nor regard it as otherwise than good fortune to be consigned to the earth with its indescribable power to create new life.' Although Franz Schubert was at last feeling free of the syphilis that had laid him low in 1823, Ferdinand's fears were all too familiar to him, and the composer's vehemence on this occasion is a transparent indication of his own struggles in previous years. This joyous holiday in Upper Austria was a time of remission rather than cure but, for all that, he was a changed man. From that nightmare period of shame, fear of death and suicidal depression, he had somehow emerged unscathed, strong enough for his music to flow, as it would until the end of his life, with ever richer and more profound meaning. The homily in his letter home sums up the content of Stolberg's poem—and little wonder, for the song dates from 1823 when it was the cathartic power of creation, and writing music to accompany perhaps these very words, which had helped the composer to face the realities of life and death. There is no picturesque suggestion in the poem; but instead of apt illustrative musical effects there is a wonderfully mellow through-composed feeling, as if the piece was a sonata movement for viola, one of the most motherly of instruments, and one, particularly in the field of obbligato instruments with the voice, which reminds us of Brahms. (It is Capell who points out that the piece has a Brahmsian look on the page.) There is a suggestion of the slow swing of a huge cradle, particularly in the rocking movement of the introduction. The protective haven woven by the intertwining embrace of voice and piano in thirds and sixths (one might add Mahler to the list of composers prophesied in this song) makes us forget, and perhaps even accept, that in burying ourselves in the lap of Mother Earth, we bid life farewell. Connoisseurs of Schubert's piano works will recognise in the accompaniment underneath the section beginning 'Es scheint der mond, es f„llt der Thau', a strong reminiscence of the Andante of the A major Sonata, Op 120 (D664).

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989

Other albums featuring this work

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 5 - Elizabeth Connell
CDJ33005Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
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