WORKS: Songs, Vol. 2
PERFORMER: Sibylle Ehlert (soprano), Anne Buter (mezzo-soprano), Jochen Kupfer (baritone), Reinild Mees (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CCS 14398
This volume completes Channel’s survey of Franz Schreker’s song output under the auspices of the 20th-Century Song Foundation. It concentrates on his mature output, but also includes some of the earliest songs that didn’t find a place in the more chronologically arranged Vol. 1 (reviewed January 1999). Thus the student ‘Lied der Fiorina’ of 1896 rubs shoulders with the Rilke setting ‘Und wie mag die Liebe’ written shortly after the premiere of Die Gezeichneten. Indeed, Schreker’s operas never seem that far away in this music, from a 1909 ‘Ave Maria’ that sounds as if it has wandered in from the theatre to Alban Berg’s arrangement of the Ballad from Der ferne Klang. In short, there is some highly characteristic Schreker here, more so than in Vol. 1.
Vol. 2 is shared among three singers, with Sibylle Ehlert particularly effective in the two Walt Whitman settings of 1923 (in German translation). Jochen Kupfer is yet another example of the superb young Lieder-singing baritones to have emerged from Germany in recent years and goes to town with the ‘Erlkönig’-like fury of ‘Das feurige Männlein’ and a heartfelt final couplet to ‘Überwunden’: ‘You alone are my lifeblood, I am conquered’. Finally, mezzo Anne Buter sings a passionately engaged Ronsperger cycle from 1909 with depth and variety of tone colour. Matthew Rye