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Track(s) taken from CDA67392

Um Mitternacht

author of text

Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: January 2003
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 5 minutes 30 seconds

Cover artwork: The Tomb of Böcklin (1901/2, detail) by Ferdinand Keller (1842-1922)
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe / AKG-Images, London

Other recordings available for download

Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano), Simon Lepper (piano)


'This disc shows Stephan Genz entering his fourth decade with all the light suppleness and ardour of his youthful recordings, but now with darker colours and firmer bass ballast folding into his baritone. His intuitive musical partnership with Roger Vignoles is as sentient and perceptive as ever; and together they uncover the dark, sensual mysteries of the late-Rommantic response to the natural world' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A rich sonorous eloquence from Genz, while Vignoles musters a full range of orchestral colours. Piano accompaniment lends these works a more personal, intimate feel, turning this generous disc into a pensive, rewarding journey through the many complex moods of Mahler's inner life' (The Observer)

'Even in this golden age of Lieder singers, Stephan Genz has few rivals for easeful beauty of tone and acuteness of insight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Stephen Genz is an excellent light baritone whose timbre reminds me sometimes of one of his teachers, Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, and whose interpretations are like Fischer-Diskau's earlier ones,before he began to over-interpret … highly recommended' (American Record Guide)

'This is an extremely enjoyable disc, which casts a lot of light on even those songs of Mahler which were written to be accompanied orchestrally … Genz is singing a cycle to which he is utterly suited, and the effect is magical' (International Record Review)

'Stephen Genz relies on subtle shading, verbal refinement and a lightness of touch to interpret a generous selection of Mahlerian masterpieces' (Classic FM Magazine)

'What surpassingly magnificent music this is, and what a superbly intelligent display of Western high-art at its most poignant from Genz and Vignoles. I just can't stop playing the disc. Endless pleasure, endless sorrow, endless beauty' (Fanfare, USA)
In Um Mitternacht Mahler explicitly evoked the moment of his collapse the previous February, when in the middle of the night he had faced the threat of death—‘I wondered whether it would not be better to have done with it at once, since everyone must come to that in the end’. It is interesting that each of these four Rückert settings depicts a single state of mind, the mood of a moment with no development. And even though Um Mitternacht ends on a note of triumph, suggesting the overcoming of a titanic inner conflict, for most of the song time seems to stand still, an effect that is created and enhanced in the poem by the constant repetition of ‘Um Mitternacht’ and its attendant -acht rhymes, and in the music by the sense of a constantly tolling bell and the unchanging key centre of A minor.

from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2004

Dans Um Mitternacht Mahler évoqua explicitement son effondrement de février, lorsqu’il vit la mort en face, au beau milieu de la nuit – «Je me demandai s’il n’eût pas mieux valu en finir tout de suite, puisque chacun doit arriver là». Fait intéressant, chacun des quatre Rückert-Lieder dépeint un état d’esprit particulier, l’humer d’un moment sans aucun développement. Et bien que Um Mitternacht s’achève sur une note de triomphe, sous-entendant une victoire sur un titanesque conflit intérieur, le tempo semble presque toujours tranquille, une tranquillité suscitée et rehaussée dans le poème par la constante répétition de «Um Mitternacht» et de ses rimes en -acht, dans la musique par la sensation d’une cloche qui ne cesse de tinter et par le centre tonal inchangé de la mineur.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Vignoles © 2004
Français: Hypérion

In Um Mitternacht beschwor Mahler schließlich ganz ausdrücklich den Moment seines Zusammenbruchs im vorangegangenen Februar herauf, als er mitten in der Nacht dem drohenden Tod ins Auge geblickt hatte, und sich – so er selbst – fragte, ob es nicht besser sei, es direkt hinter sich zu bringen, da doch jeder schließlich dorthin kommen müsse. Es ist interessant, daß jede dieser vier Rückert-Vertonungen einen einzelnen Seelenzustand beschreibt, die Stimmung eines Moments ohne jegliche Entwicklung. Und obwohl Um Mitternacht voller Triumph und mit dem Gefühl, einen gigantischen inneren Konflikt überwunden zu haben, endet, scheint die Zeit während des Liedes im wesentlichen stillzustehen – ein Effekt, der im Gedicht durch die ständige Wiederholung der Worte „Um Mitternacht“ und die dazugehörigen Reime auf -acht erzeugt und verstärkt wird, und in der Musik durch das Gefühl einer unablässig schlagenden Glocke und das unveränderliche Tonartzentrum a-Moll seine Entsprechung findet.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Vignoles © 2004
Deutsch: Bettina Reinke-Welsh

Other albums featuring this work

Mahler & Mahler: Lieder
Studio Master: CKD453Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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