Schubertíada Vilabertran

This week, I delayed the post until today because I wanted to talk about the Schubertíada, the 27th season has just been announced. Five of the concerts were announced in December and one more some days ago, and now, we know the whole season. We'll have great artists and great programmes!

The Schubertíada Vilabertran will last from 17 to 31 August, and there will be nine song recitals: one at the first weekend, five the second week (which we already know as "great week") and three at the third, last weekend. I mentioned last year that the general trend was recitals with many composers, often five or six; this year the trend is... Schubert. We'll have five all-Schubert programmes; the three great cycles and two selections:

  • Christoph Prégardien and Malcolm Martineau will perform Die schöne Müllerin; I remember very well the last time that Prégardien sang this cycle, in 2010; his pianist back then was Michael Gees. I'm curious about the differences, nine years later.

  • Joyce DiDonato and David Zobel will perform Winterreise; we are lucky enough to hear often the mezzo soprano in Barcelona singing opera, but I didn't hear her as a recitalist or a Winterreise sung by a woman, so it's an exciting concert. Just one more thing: there are just a few tickets left.

  • Andrè Schuen and Daniel Heide will open the "great week" with Schwanengesang and a selection of songs with poems by Johann Gabriel Seidl and Ludwig Rellstab, also composed in 1828. As I said last Wednesday, I'm really looking forward to listening to this baritone again.

  • A great soprano will open the festival,Christiane Karg accompanied by Gerold Huber. There are three main blocks in their Schubert programme: Lieder inspired by mythological characters, Lieder of Mignon and Italian Lieder, very unusual.

  • Matthias Goerne and Alexander Schmalcz will give two recitals this summer; The second one will be dedicated to Schubert, with a dark and great selection. By the way, this year we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of Goerne's debut in Vilabertran!

The rest of the recitals of Vilabertran, with one exception, don't include any Lied by Schubert; those of you that don't like the apple of my eye should be happy that there won't be “interferences”. These programmes are, in addition, perfect to listen to less-known repertoire.

  • The exception is the final concert of the Academy; like last year, two duos who in Desember took part in Wolfram Rieger's Lied Course in Barcelona will continue their classes in Vilabertran; We don't know the programme, only that they'll perform Schubert, among other composers. At least, we know the two duos: Violeta Alarcón and Èric Varas and Irene Mas Salom and Marc Serra.

  • The first of the two recitals with Matthias Goerne and Alexander Schmalcz includes songs by Dmitri Shostakovich, not very usual; Frank Martin, even less usual, and Gustav Mahler; we'll listen to some of his early songs.

  • Marie Seidler, Manuel Walser (talking of young baritons not to be missed) and Wolfram Rieger will perform an impressive work, the Spanisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf; Last summer, Bernarda Fink sang a short selection, but this year we have the opportunity of listening to the whole work, a wonderful rarity!

  • Katharina Konradi, one of the revelations last year, returns to close the recitals in Vilabertran, this time with Eric Schneider. The start of the recital is stunning: a selection from a cycle by Györgi Kurtág, Fragments of Attila Joszef, combined with one of the last cycles by Robert Schumann, his opus 107. The effect of intercalating is fascinating. Try it! This is the most variated programmed: it includes songs by Claude Debussy and Johannes Brahms and by two unusual composers, Clara Schumann and Ernst Krének.

Those were the nine recitals in Vilabertran. We will have five more in Barcelona; pay attention to Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber, of course, and pay also attention to the Schubert Lied series. Please let me recommend you the only (sigh!) baritone this season, Konstantin Krimmel, which will be accompanied by Doriana Tchakarova; I recently listened to him in some song competitions and he sounds really interesting. Katharina Konradi and Eric Schneider, Natalia Labourdette and Anastasiya Timofeeva and Sheva Tehoval and Daniel Heide will complete the series.

Finally, let's go to the Basque Country; the Schubertíada goes back to Valdegovía, and two out of four concerts will be song recitals. Don't miss soprano Fatma Said,accompanied by Roger Vignoles, everybody is talking about her; Don't miss either the beautiful programme of Natalia Labourdette and Victoria Guerrero.

As usual, you'll find the completed (and ordered) information on the Schubertíada website. Take your diary and choose your concerts; of course, don't overlook the chamber concerts! For once, allow me a non-song recommendation: don't miss the piano concert of the great Nicholas Angelich.

To finish this long post we have a short song, a sampling from Spanisches Liederbuch. Many years ago (five, to be precise) we listened to a wonderful duo by Schumann, In der Nacht, included in his cycle Spanisches Liederspiel. Hugo Wolf also musicalized this poem, whose story I tried to explain briefly; Today we'll listen to this Lied, Alle gingen, Herz, zur Ruh, performed by Wolfgang Holzmair and Russell Ryan.

Alle gingen, Herz, zur Ruh

Alle gingen, Herz, zur Ruh,
alle schlafen, nur nicht du.

Denn der hoffnungslose Kummer
scheucht von deinem Bett den Schlummer,
und dein Sinnen schweift in stummer Sorge
seiner Liebe zu.

¡Todos duermen, corazón,
todos duermen y vos, non!

El dolor que habéis cobrado
siempre os terná desvelado,
qu'el corazón lastimado
recuérdalo la pasión.

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