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Open Your Eyes - Lieder for the turn of a century
Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
Acht Gedichte aus ‘Letzte Blätter’ Op. 10 (1885)
1. Zueignung [1:54]
2. Nichts [1:34]
3. Die Nacht [2:56]
4. Die Georgine [4:07]
5. Geduld [5:03]
6. Die Verschwiegenen [1:15]
7. Die Zeitlose [1:40]
8. Allerseelen [3:21]
Alban BERG (1885 – 1935)
Sieben frühe Lieder (1905-1908)
9. Nacht [3:56]
10. Schilflied [1:54]
11. Die Nachtigall [2:11]
12. Traumgekrönt [2:26]
13. Im Zimmer [1:17]
14. Liebesode [1:35]
15. Sommertage [1:43]
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874 – 1951)
Brettl Lieder (1901)
16. Galathea [3:35]
17. Gigerlette [2:06]
18. Der Genügsamerliebhaber [3:08]
19. Einfältigeslied [2:41]
20. Mahnung [3:42]
21. Jedem das Seine [4:38]
22. Arie aus dem Spiegel von Arcadia [3:51]
23. Nachtwandler [4:46]
Katherine Broderick (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
rec. 1 – 4 April 2011, Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK
Programme notes by Richard Stokes but no printed texts
CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD046 [65:33]

Winner of the 2007 Kathleen Ferrier Award, Katherine Broderick has in a few years made her mark both on the operatic stage and the concert platform. There have been recitals at Wigmore Hall and appearances at Covent Garden and the Proms. She is also represented in the record catalogues: Mendelssohn and Schumann for Hyperion, Britten songs for Onyx, Wagner for Hallé with Mark Elder. I also have a BBC Music Magazine disc with Il tabarro, recorded live at the Proms. This is however her first solo disc and both the programme and the singing should win her many new admirers.
 
To begin with, the programme is delectable with three sets of songs from both sides of the previous turn of the century. At least four of the eight songs that constitute Richard Strauss’s Op. 10 have become firmly established as standards and are frequently heard in recital. Published when Strauss had turned twenty they are exceptionally mature creations. He was no beginner in the field, having at the time written more than forty songs before. The two most special of the Op. 10 songs are Die Georgine (tr. 4), where Strauss predates Hugo Wolf’s mature style, and Allerseelen (tr. 8), written when he was just 18. It is one of the loveliest songs in the whole Lied repertoire.
 
The same year that these songs were published Alban Berg was born and when he composed his Sieben frühe Lieder he was about the same age as Strauss was when he wrote his Op. 10. Harmonically the early Berg was not far removed from Strauss. These songs are grateful for the singer but they lack true melodic inspiration, which Strauss’s songs have in abundance. The Berg songs are fairly common today and only the last couple of years I have acquired almost half a dozen different recordings.
 
For many listeners I suppose the Schoenberg songs will be the greatest surprise. He was a little older than his two colleagues, but only a little, when he set the Brettl Lieder. Those who know him as the revolutionary who created atonalism and later twelve tone music will probably say: But this can’t be Arnold Schoenberg, it must be Claude-Michel Schönberg of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon fame. No, it isn’t. Arnold Schoenberg had catholic tastes. He loved the music of Johann Strauss and arranged several of his waltzes for small ensemble. He also arranged the popular Italian song Funiculi-Funicula and was partial to cabaret songs. Gigerlette (tr. 16) is like Erik Satie’s cabaret style but with a German accent. Arie aus Dem Spiegel von Arcadia (tr. 22) is the very incarnation of Viennese music. The poem, incidentally, is by Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote the libretto for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. The concluding Nachtwandler (tr. 23) is a hilarious composition with snare drum, piccola flute and trumpet added to the piano accompaniment. The extra instrumentalists are, according to the foreword, Steve, Katie and Jenny - no family names are given. Greatly entertaining it is.
 
Katherine Broderick sports a clean, beautiful, slightly vibrant voice with an expansiveness that points forward to dramatic roles – and she is already taking on Wagner roles. Allerseelen (tr. 8) demonstrates her full capacity from the softest pianissimo to jubilant fortissimo. She has a good feeling for the texts and her enunciation is excellent. Her beautifully inward Die Nacht (tr. 3) is one of the real highlights on this disc. Arie aus dem Spiegel von Arcadia (tr. 22) is sung with an elegance that challenges even Schwarzkopf, provided she ever sang this song.
 
With Malcolm Martineau at the piano the accompaniments are in the best of hands. The only fly in the ointment was the absence of the sung texts, which was due to a printing error in the first batch of booklets. That has now been corrected, and the original title "Open your eyes" has also been changed to "Lieder for the Turn of a Century".
 
A highly desirable debut recital.
 
Göran Forsling

Revised booklet, front and rear covers.


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