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Trennung – Songs of Separation

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Kristian Bezuidenhout (piano) (BIS)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Trennung – Songs of Separation
Works by FG Fleischer, Haydn, Herbing, Mozart and Wolff
Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Kristian Bezuidenhout (piano)
BIS BIS-2623 (CD/SACD)   75:50 mins


This recital reveals the musical kinships between Mozart, Haydn and contemporaries such as the Marburg organist August Herbing, Braunschweig-based Friedrich Fleischer, and Christian Wolff from Stettin. And in these outwardly genteel songs what depths of human emotion are plumbed! The thrilling storm music of Herbing’s opening mini-drama is virtuosically handled by Kristian Bezuidenhout, and he and Carolyn Sampson enthralling unfold the tale of shipwrecked love. Mozart makes a fine contrast. The exquisitely crafted phrases of Lied der Trennung are tenderly ornamented and sung with deep pathos by Sampson. The intimate keyboard interlude in ‘An den Schlaf’ is poised and knowing. ‘Abendempfindung’, deservedly famous, does not disappoint either.

The extended prelude which opens Wolff’s An das Clavier showcases the expressive range of the 1805 Viennese Walter piano. This unabashedly sentimental but impressively rich song of suffering is matched by Fleischer’s equally well-crafted Das Clavier, which displays the ‘beguiling melody’ described in Richard Wigmore’s fine liner notes.

A slightly less interesting selection of Haydn Lieder is enlivened by sympathetic performances. The final dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos, mirroring the opening ballad, is another excellent showcase for Bezuidenhout’s inventive playing, and Sampson enjoys the still greater freedom afforded by singing in Italian. Sampson’s beguiling, luminous voice, with immaculate German and elegant delivery, is perfectly matched by Bezuidenhout’s endlessly inventive imagination. The whole is supported by a resonant acoustic which, despite occasional unevenness, allows every note to speak. Enjoy a long soak in this luxurious bath of classy, 18th-century suffering.

Natasha Loges

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