DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | This New Album Might Change Your Mind About Lieder

By Norman Lebrecht on March 26, 2021

Im_Abendrot

Im Abendrot: Songs by Wagner, Pfitzner, Strauss (DG)

★★★★★

🎧  Apple Music | Amazon

A cultured Russian friend was telling me the other day she cannot bear to listen to Lieder — “all that shrieking and, worse, in German”. It’s not easy to find an antidote to such national prejudices, but one landed on my doorstep the very next day.

The baritone Matthias Goerne, with a voice like brushed velvet and diction clearer than iced vodka, is the perfect riposte to high-pitched complainants, the more so when he’s singing Lieder that are usually in the soprano’s locker.

His program here consists of Wagner’s Wedendonck Lieder, an assortment from Hans Pfitzner and five songs of Richard Strauss, including the closing number of his valedictory set. The Wagner songs are beautifully coloured in lakeside shades of yellow and brown, the pivotal ‘Im Treibhaus’ exposing shadows of Tristan und Isolde and the concluding ‘Träume’ almost burying the urge to love.

Pfitzner (1869-1949) is an ancient mariner of a composer, one who grabs your lapel when you’ve just remembered something more important to do. I was prepared to skip a second listening but his working of ‘Im Abendrot’ makes a rather poignant contrast to Strauss’s song of the same title.

The five Strauss tracks are minor miracles, the best of them being the much-sung ‘Morgen!’, which Goerne delicately prises out of feminine control. Beyond the peerless singing, I found myself stupefied in wonder at the empathetic piano playing.

Goerne has long formed an intuitive stage partnership with the Russian Daniil Trifonov. Here, however, he is joined by the Korean Chopin Competition winner Seong-Jin Cho, an artist of a sensitivity way beyond his 25 tender years, actually stealing the narrative in the finest moments of this five-star album. If you can’t bear Lieder singing, I’ll tell my friend, just listen to the piano.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Former Met Opera Conductor James Levine Dies At 77

By Michael Vincent on March 17, 2021

Former Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine has died at age 77. He passed away on March 9.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

GUIDE | The Best Classical Music Streaming Services Online

By Anya Wassenberg on March 24, 2021

What's the best streaming service for classical music lovers? With so many options available on the market, it's a good question.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

REPORT | Study Says Music Taste Is Related To How Empathetic You Are

By Michael Vincent on April 9, 2021

What does your taste in music say about you? A lot, says a new study.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.