Wolf: Mörike Lieder

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2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Wolf
LABELS: Extraplatte
WORKS: Mörike Lieder
PERFORMER: Ingeborg Dobozy (soprano), Ramón Walter (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: EX 407-2
A baffling release, this. An earlier Wolf recital from the Stuttgart-born soprano Ingeborg Dobozy apparently won her plaudits and prizes; but this one is something of a trial to endure through to its 22nd and last Mörike song.

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Dobozy’s is not a voice of great natural beauty and it is strangely produced, with focus which is threatened whenever a note is under pressure, either from pitch or from its accented position in the melodic line. Both her singing and the piano playing of Ramón Walter tend to the syllabic. This deprives the stormy meeting of ‘Begegnung’ of any real sense of impetus, and makes for an over-symmetrical question and answer session in ‘Frage und Antwort’.

Dobozy can find a deadpan, somewhat etiolated vein which is wryly suited to the plaints of ‘Das verlassene Mägdlein’ and the woebegone lover of ‘Ein Stundlein wohl vor Tag’; though the droll humour of the old lady in ‘Rat einer Alten’ and the doomed marriage of ‘Bei einer Trauung’ is just too much of an ugly caricature to be true.

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Eduard Mörike’s poems are laid out as prose in the accompanying booklet, presumably to save space. This destroys the visual shapeliness of his verse, just as the performances dull the rapture of Wolf’s encounter with his poetry. Poor Mörike, poor Wolf! Hilary Finch