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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schumann was the arch Romantic-a period that rebelled against classicism., 24 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Schumann: The Complete Songs (Schumann: The Complete Songs) (Audio CD)
Schumann the complete songs box set,is the companion of Schubert the complete songs box set;both owe their existence to Graham Johnson,the pianist on both of them.Distributed by Hyperion Records Ltd. This 10 CD box set is like every other set of this size.Made of tough cardboard,the lid opens up,where you may wish to put the CDs you want to play.The outside of the lid in grey,with wording in black and crimson red,the same colours as the huge Schubert box.The spine has the singers taking part in this set.At the back of the box, is the fact that this is the first time that the songs have been presented in chronological sequence of composition.Also,that there is a 304 page booklet.English translations by Richard Stokes and Eric Sams. Chronology of Schumann's life and songs by Gramham Johnson in English,French and German. There are no jewel cases as there are in the Schubert box set,but cardboard sleeves.On the front the CD and track number and where composed. For example CD 1,Zwickau and Leipzig,1827.1928 &1840.Pieces played on back and front with poets he used.Songs written in crimson red and singers in black.For a set of songs - black.DDD.Digital. Sound excellent.The CDs have the CD number and the place and year written in crimson red.

Booklet: songs with CD and track number.Chronology of Schumann's Life and songs.Beginning in 1810, his birth and details of his life,how his songs came about and which poet influenced them,and what was happening in his life at the time.You can understand why Johnson is so revered,the detail is amazing.The songs, translations in German and English.I used a few reviews from the Gramophone Guide 2009 on these recordings.

CD 1.Zwickau & Leipzig (1827,1928 & 1840).Schnsucht. Die Weinende. Lied fur XXX. Kurzes Erwachen. Gesanges Erwachen. Der Fischer. Im Herbste. An Anna 1. An Anna 11. Hirtenknabe. Erinnerung. Myrthen. Dorothea Roschmann soprano. Mark Padmore tenor, Ian Bostridge tenor. Christopher Maltman baritone.All ten CDs with Johnson at the Piano."If one has to be singled out for particular praise,it must be Dorothea Roschmann. In Myrthen with tones at once fresh,warm and communicative,she sings all her contributions with an ideal balance between word and note,such as in 'Der Nussbaum'.Not to be outdone,Bostridge presents deeply considered accounts of all his songs".The beauty of the voice of Padmore singing Schnsucht sums up the entire set.-T

CD 2.Leipzig(February-May 1840).Schlusslied des narren. Belsatzar. Liederkreis. Was soll ich Sagen. Ein Gedanke. Jasminenenstrauch. Volksliedenchen. Abends am Strand. Loreley. Die leiden grenadiere. Die feindlichen Bruder.Dem roten roslein gleicht mein lieb. der frohe wandersmann. Liederkreis. Juliane Banse,Stella Doufexis, Kate Royal,soprano. Jonathan Lemalu, Stephan Loges, Christopher Maltman,Oliver Widmer baritone.

CD 3.Leipzig(May-July 1840). Dichterliebe. Dein angesicht so lieb und schon. Lehn deine Wang an meine wang. Es leuchtet meine Liebe. mein wagen rollet langsam. vier Duette. Frauenliebe und-leben. Banse soprano, Roschmann soprano. Bostridge tenor. Maltman baritone."In the four duets both Roschmann and Bostridge are persuasive,which may bring to mind the Lotte Lehmann/Melchoir recordings of these four songs."

CD 4.Leipzig(July-October 1840).Drei Gesange. Funf Lieder. Sechs Gedichte aus dem Lieserbuch eines malers. landliches Lied. Lied In meinem garten die Nelken.Drei gedichte von Emanuel Geibel. Schnsucht. Die nachtliche Heerschau. Der arme Peter. Drei Duette. Banse,Edith barlow,Felicity Lott,Lydia Teuscher soprano. Daniela Lehner,Ann Murray mezzo soprano. Simon Keenlyside,Jonathan Lemalu,Stephan Loges,Maltman, Hanno Muller -Brachmann,Oliver Widmer baritone.Ex Cathedra-choir.

CD 5.Leipzig(October-December 1840).Zigeuerleben. Blondel lied.Der Schatzgraber. Fruhlingsfahrt. Der deutsche Rhein. nur ein lachelnder Blick. Die Nunne. Der reiter und der Bodensee. Madchen-schwermut. Trost im Gesang. Zwolf Gedichte von justinus Kerner. Sangers trost.Banse,Barlow,Christine Schafer,Teuscher soprano. Melanie Lang,Lehner mezzo soprano. Nicky Spence,Adrian Ward tenor. Luxas Kargl,Keenlyside,Lemalu, Loges, Maltman,Widmer baritone. Marcus Gruett percussion. Ex Cathedra.

CD 6.Leipzig & Dresden(January 1841- March 1849)Zwolf Gedichte aud Libesfruhling. Ich wandre nicht. Soldatenlied.Auf dem Rhein. Sag an,O lieber Vogel mein. Die Soldatenbraut.Das verlassene Magdlein. Tragodie.der handschuh. Spanisches Liederspiel.Banse,Doufexis,Geraldine McGreevy,Schafer soprano. Ann Murray,Leigh Woolf Mezzo soprano. Adrian Thompson tenor. Loges, Maltman, Muller-Brachmann,Widmer,baritone."In the Spanisches Liederspiel McGreevy, now a Lieder singer of major calibre revels in 'Melancholie'.She also stands out in the wistful duet'In der Nacht' with the sensitive Thompson."

CD 7.Dresden & kreischa (April -May 1849) Spanische liebeslieder. Lieder -Album fur die jugend.Lott soprano, Doufexis,Mc Greevy soprano, Murray mezzo soprano, Thompson tenor, Loges baritone,Hough piano.

CD 8.Kreischa & Dresden (June-December 1849) Lieder und Gesange aus Wilhelm Meister. Minnespiel. Vier Duette. Liebeslied sommerruh. drei gesange. Katherine Broderick,Doufexis,Lott,McGreevy,Roschmann,Schafer soprano. Murray mezzo soprano. Bostridge, Thompson tenor. Keenyside,Loges,baritone. "Johnson states that what we have always lacked is a convincing way of performing late Schumann songs,often spare in texture and elusive in style.Well, he and Keenlyside seem to have found one here in Wilhelm Meister songs.Johnson's persuasive playing is superb."

CD 9.Dresden (December 1849-August 1850)Deklamation Schon Hedwig. Drei Gesange. Auftrage. Sechs gesange. Stiller Vorwurf. Die Meerfee. Lieder und Gesange 1V. Fruhlingslust. Geisternahe. fruhlingslied. Husarenabzug. Mein Garten. mein altes Roos. Sechs gedichte und requiem.Banse, Doufexis,Lott,Schafer soprano. Muller-Brachmann. Widmer baritone,Christoph Bantzer reciter."The late pieces written between 1849 and 1852 can easily seem tortuous,but Schafer illuminates each of these songs with her pure,lucent timbre,her grace and breadth of phrase and her unselfconscious feeling for verbial meaning and nuance."

CD 10.Dusseldorf (January 1851-September 1853) Jung Volkers Lied. Herzelied. Die Fensterscheibe. Der Gartner. abendlied. Vier Hausarenlieder von Nokolaus Lenau. Fruhlingsgrusse. Sichen lieder von Elisabeth Kulmann. madchenlieder. Im Wald. Drei Gedichte. Die Spinnerin. Deklamation Die Fluchtlinge. Liedchen von Marie und papa. Provenzalisches Lied. Ballade. Gedichte der Konigin maria Stuart. bei Schenkung eines Flugels. Banse,Doufexis,Lott,Schafer, Teuscher soprano. Murray Mezzo soprano. Thompson tenor. Keenlyside,Muller-Brachmann,Widmer baritone. Christoph Bantzer reciter.

In his book the book of Lieder,Stokes includes in the Life of Robert Schumann comments by Grieg. "It cannot be maintained that Schumann was the first to accord a conspicuous role to the accompaniments of his songs. Schubert had anticipated him as no other of his predecessors had done,in making the piano depict the mood. But what Schubert began,Schumann further developed: and woe to the singer who tries to render Schumann without keeping a close watch on what the piano is doing,even to the finest shades of sound." Grieg also adds" up to a certain point,he who cannot play Schumann cannot sing him either."

German Romanticism which influenced Schumann was preoccupied with death,love in death,in love with love,unhappy love,also,the strange and the shocking. Nature was seen as healing,beautiful and mystical in an almost religious sense;a form of pantheism. They believed in free expression of the individual,personal feeling and individualism in general. A longing for the mystical world of the spirit with everyday life a mere mirage.The movement was a rebellion against Classicism;reason and order,harmony and balance.The difference with Schumann was that he wished to escape the commonplace,into a world of fantasy.He was not so much interested in the outer aspects of the romantic feeling,but its inner aspects.Schumann loved the fantastic,the grotesque,and the imaginative.

REFERENCES: Ewen,D(Ed) The complete book of classical music.1978.Robert Hale Ltd. Gramophone Classical Guide 2009. Stokes,R. The book of Lieder.2005.Faber and Faber.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2014 07:31:32 BDT
Octave says:
Thanks for this thorough review and notes on the packaging, Ultrarunner.
Pardon if I am overlooking the obvious, but as I understand it, texts/translations for all songs are included, but not the complete liner notes from the original individual release....these latter can be downloaded directly from the label website, just as with the Hyperion Schubert Songs box. Is that correct?
I appreciate your reference to the Stokes volume. I will have to seek that out.

Posted on 30 May 2014 14:18:54 BDT
Ultrarunner says:

English Translations of the songs are available in a thick booklet, plus a life through his songs; year and dates and what he was doing. I did not buy the individual CDs so I do not know what was in the Schumann liner notes. What is in the booklet seems enough for me. I did look at the Schumann booklet and could find no reference to downloading directly from this labels website. Cheers T.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2014 14:40:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2014 14:43:43 BDT
Octave says:
Thanks for your reply. For those thinking about this box, there is a review at Musicweb by Kirk McElhearn, who mentions some differences between the 10cd box and the original series. (Different order of songs, no part-songs included, etc.)

In case you would like to delve into the background of this music, you might enjoy downloading the PDF booklets from the label website; I just checked a couple of the original volumes' pages at the website, and it looks like those PDFs are still offered free, even when the original single disc is no longer offered! In some cases these notes (not included in the thick booklet that comes with the 10cd box) are quite substantial; I saw a review of a Julianne Banse volume, saying that its booklet was 88 pages. As you already mention in your nice review above, Graham Johnson's musicological/historical knowledge is extensive and makes for rich reading; it seems like even those who do not favor his accompaniment are quite impressed by his notes!

(Hyperion makes it easy to download these for a fee from their store, or to download individual songs; so the missing songs from the box you reviewed, can be downloaded legally to supplement the box.)

It sounds like the 10cd box, as with Hyperion's Schubert songs box, is a very different experience from the original series, not only because of the song order, but because of the resulting alternation of singers. Anyway, sorry for this long comment; your review was a motivation for me to buy this box, which is on its way to me. Thanks for the nudge!
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