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
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
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.
Revised booklet, front