Various: Lieder by Mendelssohn, Franz, Schumann, Reimann, Wolf, Zemlinsky, Korngold, Pfitzner & Schoeck

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COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Philips
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Eichendorff Lieder
WORKS: Lieder by Mendelssohn, Franz, Schumann, Reimann, Wolf, Zemlinsky, Korngold, Pfitzner & Schoeck
PERFORMER: Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Imogen Cooper (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 464 991-2
Think Eichendorff, and your first thoughts are likely to be Schumann’s Op. 39 Liederkreis and then, perhaps, Hugo Wolf. But many more composers were inspired by this archetype of German Romantic poets: Pfitzner tuned in to the poet’s nostalgic longings for the Vaterland; Mendelssohn warmed to his etchings of antiquity and of nature; and Reimann and Korngold were gripped by his dark nights of the soul.

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Wolfgang Holzmair, with his characteristic flair for programming and thoughtful probing of the repertoire, has created a recital in which Schumann’s Op. 39 masterpiece is framed by lesser-known settings of Eichendorff, many of which deserve to be heard more often. And, with the inspiration of these outstanding performances, they surely will.

The central Liederkreis enhances an already bulging catalogue with a voice that simply loves singing. And, with his finely blended vocal palette, minutely sensed pacing and some exquisite accompanying from Imogen Cooper, Holzmair’s imagination finds a thrilling fusion of yearning, fear and wonder. Reimann’s mini-cycle Nachtstück heightens Eichendorff’s mysteries by following the tracks of Webern, and Korngold’s ‘Nachtwanderer’ tingles to the poet’s fairytale-telling. Holzmair and Cooper touch the drollery and the mordant melancholy of Wolf’s serenaders, and are no less convincing in Pfitzner’s impassioned nostalgia.

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With more than 78 minutes of beautifully recorded song, plus a substantial and stimulating essay by Richard Wigmore, this disc is a vital addition to any collection.