An die Geliebte
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Cat No: MYR012
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 2nd June 2014
WorksAn die ferne Geliebte, op.98
Die Temperamente beim Verluste der Geliebten, op.46
ArtistsJulian Pregardien (tenor)
Christoph Schnackertz (piano)
Unrequited love was the wellspring of countless songs and poems in the Romantic era. Young tenor Julian Prégardien presents his first solo lied album with a diverse programme of 19th century art songs.
Certain moments are full of heartbreak, others more tongue-in cheek - Julian Prégardien invites us to join him on his exploration of the Romantic era in a quest for the (distant) beloved, from the very first song cycles by Beethoven and Weber to the height of the genre in the lieder of Wolf and Strauss.
The young German tenor Julian Prégardien has recently received a lot of attention on the operatic stage and concert platform, as well as in chamber music. From 2009-2012 he was a permanent member of the Frankfurt Opera. In concerts he has gained an excellent reputation mainly as a Bach interpreter. This was demonstrated in the first instance in 2010 with the release of a recording of the St John Passion, in which he sang the Evangelist: a role he has since repeated elsewhere.
The Europadisc Review
In a particularly illuminating note to this debut recital disc, the young German lyric tenor Julian Prégardien explains that he didn't want to mark the occasion by adding yet another Dichterliebe or Die schöne Müllerin to the catalogue. Instead, he has put together a fascinating and engaging programme around the recurring Romantic theme of the 'Distant Beloved': Die ferne Geliebte. The starting point is Beethoven's pioneering, through-composed short song-cycle of 1816, An die ferne Geliebte, which is here paired with another work from the same year, Weber's little-known and deliciously tongue-in-cheek Four Temperaments on the Loss of the Beloved. The second half of the disc features another coupling of works by year of composition: Richard Strauss's Mädchenblumen of 1888, and a selection of six songs from Hugo Wolf's contemporaneous Mörike-Lieder. It all makes for a particularly rewarding and thoughtful recital.
Like his grandfather and father (Christoph) before him, Julian Prégardien started his singing career as a treble in the renowned Limburg Cathedral Boys' Choir, and he combines a natural lightness of timbre with an enviable range of expression and gift for characterisation. In An die ferne Geliebte there's an urgency and yearning that makes perfect sense of presenting the songs as a single track, with the final reprise of the opening number bringing us full-circle. Prégardien brings to Beethoven's music all the insights of period sensibility, and he's matched by sensitive support by Christoph Schnackertz on a modern piano.
The Weber settings are a sheer delight, with Prégardien indulging in just the right degree of caricature to bring these highly individual songs vividly to life, with the humour judged to a nicety (listen to tracks 4 and 5 to hear this in practice!). Strauss's Mädchenblumen is normally taken by a soprano voice, but Prégardien points out that the composer originally envisaged these beautiful pieces for tenor (they were dedicated to the Weimar singer Hans Giessen), and he makes the most persuasive case for their reclamation by the male voice, admirably tackling their expressive and technical challenges.
The careful selection of Wolf songs tells a miniature narrative of young man suffering from unrequited love who joins the army, but one day leaves and sees in a brook the face of his beloved. Here, singer and pianist combine forces to present a tangible sense of drama through some of Wolf's most brilliant music, showing just how far the Romantic Lied had developed in the decades since Beethoven, yet also how true it remained to its spiritual origins. Prégardien is wonderfully sensitive and responsive to these late Romantic masterpieces, but he then brings us back to the point of departure by adding Beethoven's Resignation (composed shortly before An die ferne Geliebte) in a typically thoughtful touch.
Myrios Classics' recording is ideal, with a natural ambience that has the voice slightly forward of the piano in a perfect balance. The texts are in German only, but such is the power of Prégardien's engagement that translations are hardly necessary, and there are also detailed notes in German, English and French. This is a splendid way to mark a highly promising debut, and we must hope for more from Julian Prégardien very soon!
1Beethoven - An die ferne Geliebte
2Weber - Der Leichtmutige
3Weber - Der Schwermutige
4Weber - Der Liebewutige
5Weber - Der Gleichmutige
6Strauss - Kornblumen
7Strauss - Mohnblumen
8Strauss - Epheu
9Strauss - Wasserrose
10Wolf - Lied eines Verliebten
11Wolf - Der Tambour
12Wolf - Jagerlied
13Wolf - Lied vom Winde
14Wolf - Heimweh
15Wolf - An die Geliebte
16Beethoven - Resignation
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