Since completing her studies in 2007 Sophia Brommer has been a
permanent member of the ensemble at the Augsburg Theatre in roles like
Konstanze, Donna Anna, Lucia, Liù, Micaëla, Lulu and Violetta.
She also has a passion for Lieder-singing. It was her love of the literary
works of Hermann Hesse that inspired her to the choice of repertoire for
this disc. Goethe-settings are not difficult to find, but Hesse is a bit
harder to come by. Thus we have here several songs that are a bit off the
Schumann’s four Mignon-Lieder
are part of Lieder aus
, encompassing nine songs. They are rarely heard as a
set, even though Kennst du das Land
and Nur wer die Sehnsucht
appear individually in recital and on discs from time to time.
Sophia Brommer’s attractive voice is fresh and pearls like a
spring-brook. So laβt mich scheinen
(tr. 4), in
particular, becomes a gem in this reading.
The Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck produced an enormous number of
songs. A quick count gives 408 songs with opus numbers and another 132
without. This total of 540 places him near the top of the all-time greats in
the genre. Not all of them are for voice and piano, but around 400
traditional Lieder isn’t too bad either. The four Goethe settings from
Op. 19a are fairly early works, from before the Great War. Schoeck works in
a romantic tradition with threads going back to Schumann, even though the
delicious Mit einem gemalten Band
(tr. 5) is more Schubert-like, even
Mozartean. His harmonic pallet is rich and he knows - and loves - and loves
the human voice. It’s a pity his songs are so seldom heard today,
especially since his instrumental music and also some of his operas have
been recorded more than once during the last twenty years or so.
(tr. 8), fast and short should be an excellent appetizer and
an inspiration for investigating his music further. A couple of the six
Hesse-settings are later creations including Für Ninon
homage to his third wife. Whether it is a musical portrait of her is
difficult to tell; if so she must have been reserved and almost ascetic.
on the other hand is full of life and sumptuously romantic.
is also outgoing, scherzo-like, while Kennst du das
is contemplative, even sorrowful. Keine Rast
Schumann-like, is another appetizer - marvellously atmospheric.
Between these two groups of Schoeck-songs we meet another
Lied-composer with an enormous production: with around 790 songs he even
tops Schubert. Yrjö Kilpinen was Finnish but studied in Berlin and set
a large quantity of German poetry. During the 1930s and 1940s he was the
most famous Finnish composer after Sibelius. The great German baritone
Gerhard Hüsch championed his songs, recording many of them in a society
edition. The seven Hesse-settings Op. 97 are basically simple and short and
rather barren. In that respect they can be seen as typically Finnish, but
scratch the surface and one finds that there are several layers to discover.
They need to be listened to several times to lay bare their greatness. Try
(tr. 15) as an ear-opener.
The concluding group is better-known than anything else on this
disc, but they are performed here with piano accompaniment. Richard
Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder
are so intimately connected with
the orchestral accompaniment, I would even say conceived as such. However
skilfully and sensitively Alexander Schmalcz plays the piano part it is only
a very distant approximation of the original. Then again, listened to
unprejudiced they still have a lot to offer. Sophia Brommer sings them very
beautifully. Once one has become acclimatised to her habit of beginning a
long note without any vibrato at all and then gradually letting the tone
expand, these stand as inward and moving readings.
By and large the music here is little known and it is valuable to
get some background information. Klaus Kalchschmid’s liner notes
provide exactly what one needs. The recording is good and the disc is a
golden opportunity to get to know some interesting repertoire off the beaten
Full contents list
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856)
Lieder der Mignon, Op. 98a (Goethe)
1. Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn
2. Heiβ‘ mich nicht reden
3. Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
4. So laβt mich scheinen
Othmar SCHOECK (1886 - 1957)
Lieder nach Gedichten von J.W. von Goethe, Op. 19a
5. Mit einem gemalten Band
6. Dämmerung senkte sich von oben
Yrjö KILPINEN (1892 - 1959)
Liederfolge, Op. 97, nach Gedichten von Hermann Hesse
10. Wo mag meine Heimat sein?
11. Dunkle Augen
12. Ich fragte dich
Lieder nach Gedichten von Hermann Hesse
17. Für Ninon
19. Kennst du das auch?
20. Was lachst du so?
21. Keine Rast
Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949)
Vier letzte Lieder
(Hermann Hesse) [3:23]
(Hermann Hesse) [4:56]
24. Beim Schlafengehen
(Hermann Hesse) [5:10]
25. Im Abendrot
(Joseph von Eichendorff) [6:55]