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Die Nacht
Friedrich BURGMÜLLER (1806-1874)
Nocturne No. 1 in A minor [3:32]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Nacht und Träume D 827 [2:46]
Nocturne No. 3 in C major [2:22]
From: Die Winterreise D 911
Die Nacht [2:23]
Dr Leiermann [3:57]
Sonata in A minor, ‘Arpeggione’ D 821 [26:30]
Fischerweise D 881 [2:22]
Meere Stille D 216 [1:58]
Nocturne No. 2 in F major [3:43]
From: Rosamunde, D 797
Romanze [2:32]
Nocturne No. 1 in A minor [3:37]
Anja Lechner (violoncello)
Pablo Márquez (guitar)
rec. 2016, Spiegelsaal, Residenz Eichstätt
ECM NEW SERIES 2555 [55:49]

Cellist Anja Lechner, founding member of the alas now disbanded Rosamunde Quartet and frequent ECM recording artist, has held Schubert’s music in the highest regard since childhood, so with Die Nacht she is returning from her wide explorations of new music to an early passion. The guitar was very much in fashion in Vienna in Schubert’s day, and arrangements of his songs with guitar found in the collection of the Bohemian poet Franz Xaver Schlechta von Wschehrd, who belonged to the Schubert’s select circle of friends, have been used as the basis for these versions with cello. The exceptions to this are the Romanze from Rosamunde and Der Leiermann, transcribed by Anja Lechner and Pablo Márquez themselves. The latter of these cleverly alternates phrases, with the cello sustaining the drone of the hurdy-gurdy for the guitar’s replies.

Guitar inevitably has a more intimate feel than a piano, and the balance between Lechner’s sensitive musicianship and Argentinian guitarist Pablo Márquez’s lyrical touch make each piece here into something precious and poetic. If you have the words to hand it’s worth following some of these songs with the text to hear how the cello expresses the meaning in some phrases. In Nacht und Träume for instance Lechner places just the right amount of extra pressure on the first used of the word ‘Lust’, and lightens her tone a fraction to give a hint of protective sensitivity to ‘Träume’ at the end of the song.

Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, D. 821 was originally written for a now forgotten instrument called the arpeggione, otherwise known as a guitar d’amour or bowed guitar. The piano part for this lovely piece is relatively simple and works very well on the guitar, the solo part is as usual taken by the cello. As with the songs, this piece takes on a smaller scale than the more common piano versions, but it by no means lacks dynamics. This version makes a for a welcome alternative, and had me listening with new ears.

Friedrich Burgmüller was a slightly younger contemporary of Schubert whose orbit was in the German towns of Weimar and Kassel before he moved to Paris in 1829. The three Nocturnes interspersed throughout the programme are originals for cello and guitar, and their gently song-like idiom compliments that of Schubert perfectly. With excellent recording quality, immaculate musicianship, attractive cover design and a photo-rich booklet for the CD, this recital will very much provide balm to quieten your world on any night of the year.

Dominy Clements

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