COMPOSERS: Hollaender,Raben,Wedekind,Weill,Wilhelm & Nelson
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Liebe, Tod und Heiterkeit
WORKS: Cabaret songs by Weill, Hollaender, Wedekind, Raben, Wilhelm & Nelson
PERFORMER: Eva Meier (singer), Conor Linehan (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 3068
Following on from her previous disc of Brecht settings, Eva Meier’s latest release offers a wider conspectus of German Cabaret songs. Kurt Weill, of course, is well represented with four numbers including the famous Surabaya-Jonny, Song of Mandalay and Jenny’s Song. But there are also fine contributions from Friedrich Hollaender (the haunting ‘Ich weiss nicht, zu wem ich gehˆre) and from Rudolf Nelson (the splendidly ironic ‘Tarmberlane’). Demonstrating that the genre survives well into the 1990s, Meier also presents 11 settings of poems by Tucholsky, Köstner, Goll, and Enzensberger by the contemporary film composer Peer Raben. Within this particular context, Raben’s work covers a wider emotional range and transcends the invariably strophic construction of earlier counterparts. Although less melodious than Weill or Holl‰nder, Raben’s songs are certainly direct in expression, but his frequent recourse to chains of falling chromatics in the piano becomes a tiresome mannerism after a while.
Meier delivers all these songs with gusto and receives excellent support from pianist Conor Linehan. As on her other disc, I still wonder whether the presence of an audience might have animated some of her interpretations. There are also occasions, particularly in her Weill performances where songs could have been transposed down a semitone to accomodate some rather speculative intonation on the highest notes. But this is a relatively minor defect in an interesting, if not entirely engaging recital. Erik Levi