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LABELS: Preiser
WORKS: Lieder
PERFORMER: Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Russell Ryan (piano), etc
Ever since Philips rewarded Wolfgang Holzmair’s outstanding Schubert and Schumann cycles – and more – with a long farewell, the Austrian baritone has been taking his enterprising programming skills to sundry other labels. His Krenek Reisebuch, for instance, now deleted by Philips, is available in a new and rewarding twinning with Schubert as Echoes from Austria on ORF CD 350 ( And now Preiser has taken up a new, revelatory recital of songs by Franz Mittler (1893-1970). The meeting of the minds of Mittler and Karl Kraus has resemblances to the Brecht-Weill alliance: the exiled pianist and composer set with subtle instinct the verse of that one-man-band entertainer and poet who was part of the circle of Berg, Schoenberg, Canetti and Krenek himself. Holzmair, with his pianist Russell Ryan, captures irresistibly the quintessential Viennese idiom of this fascinating missing chapter from a world of yesterday, bringing poignancy to the tiny moments in time framed by Mittler, Kraus and Rilke; and a mordant wit to the updated satirical couplets from the comedies of the actor-dramatist Johann Nestroy. As a bonus there are intermezzi of Mittler’s chamber and piano music from the private collection of his daughter Diana. Hilary Finch