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Katharina Konradi (soprano)
Gerold Huber (piano, all except Laitmann)
Andreas Lipp (clarinet, Laitmann)
rec. 2017, Bethanienkirche, Leipzig
Song texts provided but without English translation.
GENUIN GEN18490 [61.52]

A collaboration between the Geniun label and the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council) has resulted in this debut album, ‘Gedankenverloren’, from German soprano Katharina Konradi, winner of the 2016 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb (German Music Competition) held in Bonn. Born in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Konradi studied singing in Berlin and Munich, giving her first public performance in 2013 at the Kammeroper München (Chamber Opera Munich) in the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. A talented young singer making her way in the music world, Konradi since 2015/16 has been an ensemble member of Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden and in 2017 sang Ännchen in Weber’s Der Freischütz at Staatsoper Hamburg.

For this debut album partnered, by renowned pianist Gerold Huber, Konradi has chosen a fascinating collection of twenty-one songs from eight composers. With the collection titled ‘Gedankenverloren’, my translation would be ‘lost in thought’. These are settings she knows from her student days, a mix of the well-known and the rarely heard, certainly scores that test a soprano’s versatility. Written over a period which spans nearly two hundred years, the settings range widely emotionally from the early Romantic lieder of Schubert’s Nacht und Träume through to Lori Laitman’s three heartbreaking settings of children’s poems from Terezín (renamed Theriesenstadt) concentration camp.

Clearly relishing her choice of programme, Konradi’s bright voice gleams out and every song is engagingly performed. Hard to fault, too, is Gerold Huber’s sensitive accompaniment. A highlight is Schubert’s Nacht und Träume (Night and Dreams), a setting of text by Matthäus von Collin, with singing as tender as it comes and with Konradi exhibiting most impressive legato and expressive weight. Trojahn’s Um Mitternacht (At Midnight), to an Eduard Mörike text, demonstrates the soprano’s capacity for expression. I found the performance of Debussy’s Clair de lune, to a Paul Verlaine text, quite enchanting and Lili Boulanger’s Au pied de mon lit, a setting of words by Francis Jammes, both warm and atmospheric. To a Glafira Galina text, Rachmaninov’s romance Zdes′ khorosho (How fair this spot) demonstrates both Konradi’s ability to slide effortlessly to the high register and her feel for the mood of text. Lori Laitman’s three songs, settings of poems by children killed in the Holocaust, are all played with impressive clarinet accompaniment by Andreas Lipp. My particular favourite Laitman setting, Yes, That’s The Way Things Are, is rendered with clarity and buoyancy, the clarinet displaying a klezmer feel at times. In Richard Strauss’s famous lied Morgen! (Tomorrow!), although I have come to prefer a lower voice type, Konradi demonstrates excellent, well controlled projection.

Recorded in Bethanienkirche, Leipzig, the sound quality is simply first class. The accompanying booklet includes an interview with Katharina Konradi but no information about the actual songs or composers. Full sung texts are provided but deplorably there are no English translations provided which is inconsistent as the interview does have an English translation.

This is a rather special debut album from Katharina Konradi of fascinating and captivating repertoire.

Michael Cookson

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
1. Nacht und Träume, D 827
2. Heimliches Lieben, D 922
3. Frühlingsglaube, D 686
Manfred TROJAHN (*1949)
4. Um Mitternacht
5. Ich stand in dunklen Träumen
Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
6. Apparition
7. Clair de lune
8. Romance
Lili BOULANGER (1893–1918)
9. Au pied de mon lit
10. Vous m’avez regardé avec toute votre âme
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
11. An meinem Fenster op. 26/10
12. Hier ist es schön op. 21/7
13. Traum op. 38/5
Ernst KRENEK (1900–1991)
14. Ô, Lacrimosa op. 48
Lori LAITMAN (b. 1955)
The Butterfly
Yes, That’s The Way Things Are
The Old House
Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Das Rosenband op. 36/1
Morgen! op. 27/4



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