Brahms: Die schöne Magelone Christian Gerhaher

Album info



Label: Sony Classical

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Vocal

Artist: Christian Gerhaher

Composer: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

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  • Johannes Brahms (1833-1897):
  • 1Die schöne Magelone03:06
  • 215 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: I. Keinen hat es noch gereut03:48
  • 3Der Sänger buchstabiert ihm also seine Wünsche02:06
  • 415 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: II. Traun! Bogen und Pfeil sind gut für den Feind01:44
  • 5Und kam nach vielen Tagen in die Stadt Neapolis03:07
  • 615 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: III. Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden05:35
  • 7Und schwor sich: Entweder erwidert sie seine Liebe02:11
  • 815 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: IV. Liebe kam aus fernen Landen04:19
  • 9Magelone sagte zur Amme02:42
  • 1015 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: V. So willst du des Armen01:41
  • 11Wieder musste die Amme zum Ritter01:28
  • 1215 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: VI. Wie soll ich die Freude, die Wonne denn tragen05:59
  • 13Magelone auf ihrem Ruhebett01:51
  • 1415 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: VII. War es dir, dem diese Lippen bebten03:01
  • 15Jetzt wollte aber der König seine Tochter02:25
  • 1615 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: VIII. Wir müssen uns trennen03:37
  • 17Mit drei Pferden wartete Peter an der Gartentür01:46
  • 1815 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: IX. Ruhe, Süßliebchen, im Schatten05:19
  • 19Bald wäre er auch noch eingeschlafen02:44
  • 2015 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: X. Verzweiflung ("So tönet denn, schäumende Wellen")02:43
  • 21Magelone wachte auf03:08
  • 2215 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: XI. Wie schnell verschwindet so Licht als Glanz03:37
  • 23Peter erwachte aus seiner Verzweiflung01:18
  • 2415 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: XII. Muss es eine Trennung geben03:20
  • 25Peter hätte hier vergnügt leben können02:24
  • 2615 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: XIII. Sulima ("Geliebter, wo zaudert dein irrender Fuß?")01:59
  • 27Das Lied rief ihm nach, was er tat01:05
  • 2815 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: XIV. Wie froh und frisch mein Sinn sich hebt02:38
  • 29Und wieder segelt im hellen Morgenlicht01:50
  • 30Süß ist's mit Gedanken geh'n00:59
  • 31So seiner Sehnsucht hingegeben01:16
  • 32Beglückt, wer vom Getümmel der Welt sein Leben schließt01:34
  • 33Er musste hin zu dem Mädchen01:58
  • 3415 Romanzen aus Ludwig Tiecks Magelone, Op. 33: XV. Treue Liebe dauert lange04:36
  • Total Runtime01:32:54

Info for Brahms: Die schöne Magelone

„Though recorded periodically and treated as a cultural touchstone in German-speaking countries, Brahms’s Die schöne Magelone still leaves seasoned English-speaking audiences asking, ‘What, exactly, is it?’

What looks like a Lieder cycle is better compared to songs in Shakespeare plays. The Magelone texts in the 1797 Johann Ludwig Tieck novel function as poetic interludes, but even when set to substantial music by the young Brahms (finished in 1869), they still decorate the story rather than telling it. Still, the 15 songs in the collection need some sort of plot context, if only to tell which of the novel’s characters are singing and why. Narration is heard in the German release of this disc – in a tightened version by Martin Walser. But English-speaking listeners must rely on the booklet or on, which also gives structural analysis of the songs.

The piece requires more effort than usual, though this new Christian Gerhaher/Gerold Huber recording rewards such a listening commitment. They aren’t just in peak form but create a polar opposite experience to the piece’s 1971 reference recording by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Sviatoslav Richter (now available on the EMI/Warner Icon Box devoted to Richter). Fischer-Dieskau and Richter project youthful brashness with explosive musical contrasts plus a swaggering portrayal of Peter (the knight who is central to the story and sings most of the songs). They also make you aware that this music is un-codified Brahms. Forms are fluid, with strophic songs suddenly morphing into something else. Musical ideas don’t follow each other as thoughtfully as in later Brahms.

In contrast, Huber looks for ways to make the music more integrated and coherent while also exploring the harmonic content, and he has a warmer recording acoustic than Richter. Fischer-Dieskau’s Peter is a confident conquerer, while Gerhaher’s is a lover, a complex neurotic one in a characterisation moulded from a keen look at what the poetry tells us. Peter’s ‘timid face’ in the fifth song seems to dictate a lot of the softer, more awed-sounding vocal colours that Gerhaher brings to some of the other songs. In fact, his colouring is more precise and apt than I’ve ever heard from him. And that’s saying a lot. However impressive and charismatic Fischer-Dieskau and Richter are (and Richter finds great meaning in the humblest transitional passage), Gerhaher and Huber make the piece something you can take to your heart.

Narration might make it even better. Two now-deleted Teldec Magelones show how well that can be done: the 1994 Brigitte Fassbaender recording (10/94) using the narration as breathing space between her stentorian vocal turns, and the 2000 Christoph Prégardien recording (12/00) having English narration by none other than Vanessa Redgrave. Alan Blyth found her to be ‘a shade affected’ but, with my new-found affection for Die schöne Magelone, I’d welcome it back.“ (Gramophone)

“Christian Gerhaher proved once again that he ranks as today’s peerless singer of lieder.” (London Telegraph)

“No singer produces a purer legato, no singer can ever have seemed a more genuinely humble servant of the score.” (London Telegraph)

Christian Gerhaher, baritone
Gerold Huber, piano

Christian Gerhaher
During his studies under Paul Kuen and Raimund Grumbach, German baritone Christian Gerhaher attended the Opera School of the Academy of Music in Munich and, together with his regular piano partner Gerold Huber, studied lied interpretation with Friedemann Berger. While completing his medical studies Christian Gerhaher perfected his vocal training in master-classes given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Inge Borkh. In the meantime Christian Gerhaher is himself an enthusiastic teacher and holds an honorary professorship at the Academy of Music in Munich. In 2013 he received the German Theatre Award „Der Faust" for his portrayal of Pelléas.

Christian Gerhaher's exemplary lied interpretations with Gerold Huber set standards – their recordings have repeatedly won prizes. The lied duo can be heard on the stages of major international recital centres, for instance at the Wigmore Hall in London, in the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Cologne and Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus and the Musikverein in Vienna. Christian Gerhaher is a regular guest at festivals such as the Munich Opera Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the London Proms, the Edinburgh and Lucerne Festivals as well as the Salzburg Festival. After the world premiere of Heinz Holliger's cycle Lunea on 23 fragments by Nikolaus Lenau in spring 2013 in Zurich, the 2013/14 season saw two further world premieres, both dedicated to Christian Gerhaher: Jörg Widmann's Das heiße Herz, followed by performances in Vienna, Frankfurt, London and Luxembourg (combined with Schumann and Fauré) as well as Goethe's Harzreise im Winter by Wolfgang Rihm, a programme contrasting settings of Goethe texts by Wolfgang Rihm and Franz Schubert. The world premiere was given at the Würzburg Mozart Festival in June 2014, further performances followed at the Rheingau Music Festival and the Salzburg Festival, and in the autumn in Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Florence and at the Schubertiade in Hohenems.

Besides his principle activity giving concerts and recitals, Christian Gerhaher is also a highly sought-after performer on the opera stage. Under Riccardo Muti he sang Papageno in a production of The Magic Flute at the Salzburg Festival (issued by Decca as a DVD). Gerhaher gave guest performances in the title role in Henze's Prinz von Homburg at the Theater an der Wien, as Wolfram at the Teatro Real in Madrid, at the Vienna State Opera and Munich State Opera, and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, where he received the famous Laurence Olivier Award for his interpretation. Roles such as Mozart's Don Giovanni, again in Frankfurt – where he has already sung Orfeo, Wolfram, Eisenstein and Pelléas – Posa in Don Carlo in Toulouse or concert performances as Olivier in Capriccio at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden testify to Gerhaher's broad repertoire. Wolfram remains a constant role in his calendar in the opera houses in Berlin, Vienna, London and Munich. During the Munich Opera Festival in 2014 he has been much acclaimed in the title role in a new production of Monteverdi's Orfeo.

Christian Gerhaher performs together with conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Simon Rattle, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Mariss Jansons, Daniel Harding, Bernard Haitink and Christian Thielemann in the world's major concert halls. Gerhaher's intensive preoccupation with the music of Gustav Mahler brought him together with Riccardo Chailly, Gustavo Dudamel and Pierre Boulez (Wunderhornlieder with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, also on CD, issued by DG). Major orchestras which regularly invite Christian Gerhaher to perform include the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also gives concerts with major orchestras outside Europe, for instance with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Christian Gerhaher has very close ties with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, a partnership audiences were able to enjoy in the 2012/2013 season during his residency with the orchestra. Together with this outstanding ensemble, conducted by Daniel Harding, Christian Gerhaher recorded his first album of arias devoted to opera in the German Romantic era and for which he received the International Opera Award 2013. In the 2013/14 season Christian Gerhaher was a particularly frequent guest in Berlin, the first time a singer has been artist in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic. Many concerts show how versatile the lyric baritone is, beginning with Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer conducted by Simon Rattle, Schumann's Faust Scenes with Daniel Harding, Bach's St. John Passion and the Schubert cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise accompanied by Gerold Huber, as well as Schoeck's Notturno and Fauré's La bonne chanson with a quartet from the Scharoun Ensemble. During the 2014/15 season Christian Gerhaher has a residency at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and can be heard with the Bavarian State Orchestra conducted by Kirill Petrenko (Hartmann's Gesangsszene), with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann (German Romantic arias) and in a Mahler recital in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. This programme can also be heard in London, Paris, Essen and at the Salzburg Festival.

Christian Gerhaher's CDs are issued by Sony Music, with which he has an exclusive partnership. Accompanied by Gerold Huber, Schumann cycles, all the Schubert cycles, as well as many other lied recordings have been issued. Furthermore, Christian Gerhaher can be heard on CDs with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Concentus Musicus Wien in works by Bach, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Humperdinck, Orff and Mahler, whereby this list is far from complete. Of primary importance to Christian Gerhaher is the music of Robert Schumann – both Paradies und die Peri and in particular his interpretation of Scenes from Goethe's Faust were recorded live and are available on CDs issued by Sony and RCO live, and will also be issued very soon on the BR Klassik Label. In January 2014 Christian Gerhaher received the German record critics' honorary prize Nachtigall 2014.

This album contains no booklet.

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