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Track(s) taken from CDA67488

Gesänge des Orients, Op 77

author of text

Christine Brewer (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: March 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2005
Total duration: 14 minutes 46 seconds


'Christine Brewer … combine opulent, blazing tone, fearless top notes and surprising agility' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Christine Brewer in magisterial voice … a major project, beautifully performed and presented' (The Independent)

'At all times Brewer and Vignoles work together hand in glove … This is a properly equal partnership that bodes very well indeed for this admirable project. Brewer and Vignoles set high standards for anyone who would record Strauss now and for future collaborations on Hyperion too!' (International Record Review)

'Hyperion is following its massive surveys of Schubert and Schumman by kicking off a retrospective of Strauss's complete lieder with a recital by Christine Brewer and pianist Roger Vignoles. If this is anything to go by, the series should be at once scholarly and thrilling' (The Guardian)

'Could there be a more enticing title stamped across a CD than Strauss: The Complete Songs—1? Richard Strauss the man may be widely resistible; but it would take someone extraordinarily hard-hearted not to take any delight in his luxuriant imagination and succulent harmonies … Each planned CD in the series will be shaped around the talents of different singers, and Brewer's disc marks a tremendous start' (The Times)

'there seems to be no challenge that Christine Brewer and Roger Vignoles can't meet in these opulent songs. Brewer's soaring voice offers a fabulous range of colour and dynamics, and Vignoles matches her with a truly orchestral palette at the keyboard' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Christine Brewer is a fine choice for this first disc in what is expected to be a total of eight or nine CDs … one is already impatient for the arrival of Volume 2. Full texts with translations are given, of course, and concise but informative notes from Vignoles. This recital is a gift not to be missed' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hyperion's encylopaedic collection of Schubert songs was one of the great recording projects of the Nineties. Now the beleaguered company hopes to do the same for Richard Strauss … The series launches in style with the soprano Christine Brewer, accompanied by Roger Vignoles, whose booklet notes are as perceptive and stylishly executed as his piano playing' (The Evening Standard)

'The CD, itself as masterfully composed as the songs on it, begins, appropriately, with 'Zueignung' and ends, touchingly but without sentimentality, with the last song from that same Op. 10, 'Allerseelen' … Brewer is blessed with what legendary record producer Walter Legge called the sine qua non of the great singer; a distinctive, immediately identifiable sound. Her remarkably supple voice, Rubenesque in size and voluptuosness, has just enough acid to allow her to etch each song with highly detailed word painting and her personal stamp … the insight Brewer brings to the less familiar songs brings deep satisfactions' (Bay Area Reporter, USA)
Between 1906 and 1918 there was a hiatus in Strauss’s song composition, but these years were otherwise highly productive of vocal music. Partly occasioned by a lengthy wrangle over copyright with the publishers Bote & Bock, the break coincided with his most important period of operatic composition, during which Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Frau ohne Schatten all appeared. Most of his later songs reflect the development of his style, especially in the complexity of accompanying textures and the extension of his harmonic language.

The Gesänge des Orients were composed in 1928, shortly after Die Aegyptische Helena, and are settings of adaptations from the Persian and the Chinese by Hans Bethge, whose anthology Die chinesische Flöte had already inspired Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. The change in style from Strauss’s earlier songs is marked, with a generally more ascetic palette of colour and a quasi-oriental application of ornament, especially in the first and fourth songs, each of which contemplates an aspect of the beloved. All five songs are vertiginously high, and originally intended for tenor, though interestingly dedicated to Strauss’s beloved Elisabeth Schumann and her conductor–husband Karl Alwin.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2005

Les années 1906 à 1918 marquèrent un hiatus dans la composition straussienne de lieder – ce qui ne les empêcha pas d’être, par ailleurs, des plus fécondes sur le plan de la musique vocale. En partie née d’une interminable dispute avec les éditeurs Bote & Bock au sujet des droits d’auteur, cette pause coïncida avec la plus importante période opératique de Strauss, celle qui vit paraître Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos et Die Frau ohne Schatten. La plupart des lieder ultérieurs reflètent l’évolution stylistique de compositeur, surtout dans la complexité des structures d’accompagnement et dans l’enrichissement du langage harmonique.

Composés en 1928, peu après Die Aegyptische Helena, les Gesänge des Orients, op. 77 mettent en musique des textes persans et chinois adaptés par Hans Bethge, dont l’anthologie Die chinesische Flöte avait déjà inspiré à Mahler i>Das Lied von der Erde. Comparé aux lieder straussiens antérieurs, le changement stylistique est marqué, avec une palette chromatique généralement «ascétisée» et une application quasi orientale de l’ornement, surtout dans les premier et quatrième lieder, contemplation d’un aspect de l’être aimé. À l’origine, les cinq lieder, vertigineusement aigus, s’adressaient à un ténor mais, fait intéressant, Strauss les dédia à sa chère Elisabeth Schumann et à son mari, le chef d’orchestre Karl Alwin.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Vignoles © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Von 1906 bis 1918 hielt Strauss mit seinem Liederschaffen inne, doch war diese Zeit, besonders was Vokalmusik anbetraf, sehr ertragreich. Einerseits war ein langer Streit mit dem Verlag Bote & Bock um Urheberrechte an der Pause schuld, andererseits jedoch war dies die wichtigste Periode seines Opernschaffens: in den zwölf Jahren komponierte Strauss Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos und Die Frau ohne Schatten. Viele seiner späteren Lieder spiegeln die Entwicklung seines Stils wider, insbesondere was die Komplexität der Texturen der Begleitung und die Ausdehnung seiner harmonischen Sprache anbetrifft.

Die Gesänge des Orients entstanden 1928 kurz nach der Ägyptischen Helena und sind Vertonungen von Bearbeitungen persischer und chinesischer Dichtungen von Hans Bethge, dessen Anthologie Die chinesische Flöte bereits Gustav Mahlers Lied von der Erde inspiriert hatte. Strauss’ Stilwandel ist enorm: er bedient sich hier einer eher asketischen Farbpalette und arbeitet mit quasi-orientalischen Verzierungen, was im ersten und vierten Lied besonders deutlich wird, in denen jeweils ein Aspekt der Geliebten betrachtet wird. Alle fünf Lieder sind schwindelerregend hoch gesetzt und ursprünglich für Tenor geschrieben, jedoch interessanterweise der von Strauss hochgeschätzten Elisabeth Schumann und ihrem Ehemann, dem Dirigenten Karl Alwin, gewidmet.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Vignoles © 2005
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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