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Schubert: Schwanengesang/Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
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Schubert: Schwanengesang/Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte

11 April 2005 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2005
  • Release Date: 11 April 2005
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: (C) 2005 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:11:13
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001RQ11T0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,844 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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Format: Audio CD
Live recording of a concert in London's Wigmore Hall with german baritone Matthias Goerne and piano played by Alfred Brendel.

Another recommendation of excellent "Gramophone" magazine - they were impressed enough to include "Die Taubenpost" in their best-of-the-month selection and his cheerful,little ditty was so pretty that I bought the whole album expecting more of the same - to my surprise,it turned out that this particular song has nothing to do with the rest of the album! Two song-cycles presented here (Beethoven and Schubert) are actually much more gloomy and depressing ," Die Taubenpost" was actually Schubert's last song for voice and piano and does not belong to any cycle,it is often performed only as encore.

I still have to turn my head around the whole phenomenon of Lieder songs,since I always find this kind of material very pretty in a small doses but exhausting when faced with gargantuan ask of listening too much of it. It is a combination of music and poetry therefore very,very artful and demands close attention of listener - just like reading the poetry,one has to be in a particular mood for it.No doubt Goerne is fascinating performer and his heroic baritone booms all over the place but I must admit I was more drawn to his accompanist who plays so pretty that piano becomes almost another voice in the room,reflecting every twist and turn of the poetry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8c52a9b4) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c9916c0) out of 5 stars A mixed success that you may like 7 Jun. 2005
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Matthias Goerne's career took off like a skyrocket in the late 1990s fueled by his 1997 CD of Schubert lieder by Goethe. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic hailed his chocolate bass-baritone and legato with timbre most hadn't heard since Hans Hotter. Goerne's critical success continued with CDs of Wolf lieder, Mahler, opera and Bach (including the baritone cantatas) before coming back to Schubert early in this century.

While those CDs continued to do well at the cash register, the critical reaction on his new Schubert was mixed. If critics in England liked his performances, critics in America did not and vice versa. The reason for these split decisions was an emerging trend by Goerne to overinterpret the music and to sing piano sequences in a whisper and the forte crescendos in a thunder.

The same criticisms (or adulation, depending on your point of view) can be applied to this CD, a concert recording of Beethoven's song cycle "An Die Ferne Geliebte" and Schubert's "Schwanengesang". In my opinion, the Beethoven is a failed effort and the Schubert is better but still fraught with the errors of Goerne's ways he has shown in recordings most of the past 3-4 years.

Right from the onset, the Beethoven displays none of the impetuousity and passionate fervor we would expect from this composer at Op. 90. Instead, it is performed by Goerne (with sensitive accompaniment by Brendel) as if it were Op. 125. To me, it is more Mahler than Beethoven, more wayfarer songs than songs of a lost love far away.

The pair take the opening sequence, "Auf dem Hugel sitz ich", in a slow march. This barely changes until the fourth stanza, where they finally pick up the pace and the passion. By the time Goerne arrives at track six, "Diese Wolken in den Hohen", the music is so distended it is cleary more Mahler than Beethoven. It is only in the final closing moments where Goerne displays the passion and verve we expect from Beethoven, longing over a lost beloved on a hilltop.

Compared to Stephan Genz's spectacular cycle and Thomas Allen's concert recording from a few years back (unfortunately deleted in USA) Goerne's performance simply won't do. It is too slow and syrupy to be effective Beethoven. The Wigmore Hall audience understood this and gave the pair only lukewarm applause afterward.

The Schubert comes off much better although Goerne continues to display the same disturbing mannerisms in this music, which I have heard to much better effect by baritones with smaller, more lithe voices including Holzmair. Goerne gets more in the spirit of Schubert right away by displaying passion in the opening song of the cycle, "Liebesbotschaft".

Yet, throughout the cycle, he displays the same Mahleresque tendencies to elongate phrases, whisper soft text and explode into fortissimo, as if he sensed his audience was falling asleep. The opening subject of "In der ferne" is distended and operatic, although Goerne improves later on. In fairness, he can be very effective when the text calls for such a dramatic reading. Witness "Ihr bild", a sad and dreamy song where Goerne's delivery is eerily sensitive to the text.

However, Goerne returns to the one size fits all approach in the popular "Abschied", where he lacks the spontaneity and fun I've heard from singers including Holzmair. Goerne and Brendel are frankly straightforward and dull in this, one of Schubert's most ironic songs about both loss and happiness.

A great curiosity to me is the way the audience explodes into applause at the end of "Der Doppelganger" which not only creeps along like a worm on a dry is not the end of the cycle! As if an encore, Goerne's closing "Die Taubenpost" is stodgy and dull compared to Holzmair, whose performance (at the beginnig of his CD) is one of the most successful parts of his cycle.

For his part, Alfrend Brendel provides world class accompaniment to these songs. He is neither competitive nor cantankerous and always shows his trademark intelliegence and sensitivity. Unfortunately, he is on board with Georne's tendency to overinterpret and helps deliver two cycles more akin to Mahler than the composers.

If your taste runs to singers with gigantic voices who have very individiualistic ideas of music -- accompanied by the most stalwart pianists -- then you may love this CD. Goerne's big voice, outstanding diction and magnificent span from mezzopiano to fortissimo is always apparent in DDD sound (a bit bottom heavy, perhaps) captured during a concert in London. This should have been aprescription for success. Instead, it is only partially successful, in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c846e1c) out of 5 stars Lieder... 17 April 2013
By L. Johan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
L. van Beethoven, "An die ferne Geliebte", op. 98
F. Schubert, "Schwanengesang", D 957 (that is, Rellstab, Heine and one Seidl Lieder - "Die Taubenpost")

This is what we get here, with Brendel at the piano and Goerne standing next to it. "Live at the Wigmore hall", 5 & 7 November 2007, with applauses included.

There is no shortage of competition. Let us consider the Schubert Lieder. Hotter is my first reference (Schubert: Schwanengesang). DFD:s recording (Schubert: Schwanengesang etc), by contrast, must be seen as an acquired taste because of the nature of his voice - pace his fine reputation. And there are also other, more recent and compelling contributions, such as Quasthoff's (Schubert: Schwanengesang,D.957 / Brahms: 4 Last Songs,Op.121).

Still, this is the recording I return to most frequently - especially the Schubert compilation (called "Schwanengesang" by the editor in 1828-29) and the Heine Lieder in particular - e.g., Doppelgänger, Der Atlas, etc.

Reasons: fine sound, Goerne's interesting "mannerisms" (which some people hate - I don't), Brendel's unparalleled experience, all live on stage. In sum: apparently essential for some lost souls, like me.

These late Schubert songs are among the greatest Lieder (and music) ever written.
Collectors need (and have already) the alternatives indicated above.
But don't reject this one due to misconceived criticism from people who want a "safe" Schubert for diner parties.

Finally, Beethoven opus 98 is fine too, even if it is not the main attraction on this record.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d87bea0) out of 5 stars An elegant way with 'Schwanengesang" 8 Jan. 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
A personal caveat: I am never overly fond of Goerne's concistently creamy vocal prodction and his insistence on smoothing out every lyrical line. His hushed, moody singing at times strikes me as affected. But many of my reservations were overcome here by his highly personal and original singing of Beethoven's miniature song cycle, 'An die ferne Geliebte.' Goerne's elegant intensity stands on its own, and Brendel offers an accomaniment in keeping with the singer's approach.

Now to 'Schwanengesang,' which deamnds everything a singer can offer in emotional depth. This posthumous collection contains one masterpiece after another, and Schubert reaches for an extreme variety of moods. Goerne starts off spinning out honeyed notes without tonal variation. Later he falls back on vocal prowess for its own sake, either shouting or cooing his way through many verses. I suppose he finds little reason to change given his popularity, but you'd think that listening to the great recordings by Terfel, Quasthoff, and his own teacher, Fishcer-Dieskau, would show him how incomplete his mellifluous approach is.

Brendel supports the singer in his drawn-out rhythms and unflagging melancholy. The lieder based on Heine's poetry are powerful, haunted, often tragic songs, and in the last of them, Der Doppelganger, Goerne sings with great intensity-- it earns him spontaneous applause. Overall, singer and pianist are dedicated, sensitive musicians, and there are flashes of inspiration, as in the famous Standchen, which Goerne sings with melting legato. It all sounds quite ravishing, but deeper emotional meaning comes out only occasionally.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c991b7c) out of 5 stars Brendel and Goerne and Sublime Beethoven and Schubert 27 Aug. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Some collaborations between singer and pianist reach the summit of perfection and fortunately this recording from a live performance in London's Wigmore Hall captures one of those rare moments in musical history when everything about the music simply falls in to place. This may seem like gushing praise for a CD: there are some technical problems with recording a recital before a live audience that challenge even the finest equipment and professionals at the controls. But forgive some of the sonic flaws and what is recorded is a blissful rendering of Beethoven's "An die ferne Geliebte" and Schubert's "Schwanengesang".

Matthias Goerne owns a voice of gold and intelligence to match and his reputation as a lieder recitalist is well earned. His phrasing, breath control, dynamics and luxury of tone are becoming legendary. He knows how to use his instrument and in this recital he is in peak form. The relative surprise comes from the authoritative and noble pianism of Alfred Brendel who brings his long years of specializing in the works of Beethoven and Schubert to this collaboration, becoming more the mastermind of the architecture of the works, honoring Goerne's contributions with fastidious yet passionate support.

This recording is one to own and watch, as it surely will enter the ranks of awards for excellence. It is a joy. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c991d2c) out of 5 stars Gramophone CD of the Month 17 Jun. 2005
By Haroot Avanesian - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I heard this recording last night and was blown away by its power and beauty. I am somewhat puzzled by other reviewers giving it a mere three star rating. Gramophone magazine's review begins with: "Wonderful, powerful music-making from this peerless Lieder partnership" and continues with..."Goerne and Brendel form one of the great Lieder partnerships of the day. The sympathy between them goes beyond skilful ensemble, and beyond shared enjoyment of the wealth of illustration in Schubert, into a deep understanding of the poetry as he composed it". Don't miss it.
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