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Track(s) taken from CDJ33101

Sechs Gesänge, Op 107

First line:
Auf dem Dorf in den Spinnstuben
cAugust 1851; No 4: 8 January 1852

Christine Schäfer (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: September 1995
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 1 minutes 18 seconds


'Schäfer evokes comparison with Elisabeth Schumann and with the young Elly Ameling, whom in tone and freshness of response she often resembles. In sum, a delectable, often revelatory recital … from a born Lieder singer' (Gramophone)

'Her voice combines ethereal radiance and clarity with resolute, unwavering focus. Johnson's account of the piano parts is superlative [and] his booklet notes are also exemplary—comprehensive, erudite, instructive—and deserve publication in their own right' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A young singer on the threshold of a potentially great career … A born Lieder singer … her fresh bright tone is a consistent joy' (The Sunday Times)

`This is one of the finest Lieder recordings I've ever heard … imaginatively and intelligently conceived, and superlatively achieved' (Fanfare, USA)

'It is hard to think of a more eloquent, dedicated partnership than Johnson's with the young German soprano Christine Schäfer here: pure, unaffected singing, in partnership with pianism of rare insight and beauty of tone and phrasing' (Hi-Fi News)

'There is much beauty in these songs and if they need first-class performers to reveal their glories they certainly have them here, with Schäfer's beautifully clear, shining, radiant voice, Johnson's warm and sensitive accompaniment, all wrapped in the wonderfully intimate acoustic that Hyperion always manages for its vocal discs. As with the Schubert series, Johnson's notes are a work of art in themselves, with deeply-thought insights on every page. He is truly a peerless representative of song' (The Singer)

'All now stand and salute! … In fine sonics and a most complete booklet in English plus the original German poems and translations, Hyperion deserve our thanks' (In Tune, Japan)

'Son premier enregistrement de Lieder de Schumann est d'emblée une réussie absolue. Avec le timbre à la fois le plus pur et le plus coloré, une ligne d'une souplesse parfaite et un contrôle idéal du souffle, de la nuance et de la mezza voce elle a d'emblée toutes les qualités d'une grande chanteuse de Lieder. Tout dans ce programme très varié est superlatif. N'oublions pas Graham Johnson dont on se demande s'il faut louer le plus son d'accompagnement constamment musical et passionnant ou ses notes de programmes sur le Lieder' (Répertoire, France)

'Ah, l'heureuse surprise! Mlle Schäfer, par la toute simple éloquence du moindre mot, du moindre son, ignore l'obstacle purement et simple. Eblouissant' (Diapason, France)
The Op 107 songs are a product of the Schumann’s move to Düsseldorf where the composer was appointed municipal director of music. At first things went well there, and this collection reflects a period when the composer hoped—in vain as it turned out—that his health had returned.

The Op 107 songs are united by a mood of wistful other-worldliness. The theme is unreciprocated love, whether it is poor suicidal Ophelia in love with Hamlet, the gardener in love with a princess, a girl spinning a trousseau in vain and so on. This is not tragic music, rather does it contain the delicate half-lights of fairytale and fantasy.The characters, some of them folk-tale archetypes, all seem to come from old German picture-books The music seems fragile and much responsibility lies in the hands of the performers who need to have a light touch to find the correct transparency of texture. As a whole the cycle has many exquisite moments and cries out not to be measured by the standards of the 1840 songs. Aribert Reimann has made an arrangement of this set for string quartet and voice; for this he transposes the music into higher keys.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

Other albums featuring this work

Schumann: The Complete Songs
CDS44441/5010CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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