LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Songs by Schoenberg, Weigl, Schreker & Korngold
PERFORMER: Steven Kimbrough (baritone)Dalton Baldwin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-1094-2 DDD
This is the intimate face of late Romantic lieder from the first decades of the 20th century. Here are composers who are under-appreciated – Weigl, Schreker and Korngold – plus one who is well known, but for other works – Schoenberg. The songs are full of virtually untranslatable German emotions – Sehnsucht, Innigkeit and so on – and all both need and deserve more exposure. Korngold’s song-cycle Unvergänglichkeit (‘The Eternal’) and two songs from his Op. 38 are the highlights for me – gloriously melodic, great-hearted and tender, definitely ‘more gold than corn’ (to turn on its head that dreadful dismissal of his works in the Fifties).
Schreker’s songs too have a great deal of charm and character. Weigl’s complement and match the best of them and Schoenberg’s spring from the Romantic world of Verklärte Nacht rather than the expressionistic Pierrot lunaire. Steven Kimbrough gives expressive performances of this lovely repertoire, though he seems far happier in the deeper range of the voice (required for instance in the Weigl) than in the higher parts of the Korngold, where his voice can start to strain. Dalton Baldwin’s piano accompaniment is expert, sensitive and idiomatic. The sound quality would have benefited from a richer, fuller acoustic. Jessica Duchen