The Organ Rehearsal - Henri Lerolle
The Organ Rehearsal - H. Lerolle
 
The Schubertíade Vilabertran opens tomorrow, the 25th edition, and as you know, it begins with a song recital with Ilker Arcayürek and Wolfram Rieger; I talked about it last week. Today, we will focus on the two next recitals, those of Matthias Goerne and Alexander Schmalcz on 22th and Sarah Connolly and Malcolm Martineau on 24th, and next week I'll talk about the last two recitals, that of Kate Royal on 25th and Christoph Prégardien on 26th, both with Malcolm Martineau too.

Matthias Goerne usually prepares original, very elaborated, solid programs; This year, his main composer is Hanns Eisler, with a large selection of his most important cycle, the Hollywooder Liederbuch. Those songs speak of exile or, in other words, of solitude, fear, uprooting, uncertainty, nostalgia... Unfortunately, exile is nowadays a significant topic in our old Europe. Interweaved with those of Eisler, some songs by Schumann and Wolf complete the programme; both composers suffered also, for different reasons, a kind of exile. So far, we’ve heard four songs from this recital of Goerne and Schmalcz:
 
  • Do you remember my series “the ten saddest songs”? The first one was Eisler's An den kleinen Radioapparat. I don't think there's much more to add... We listened to it sang by Matthias Goerne, this time accompanied by Eric Schneider.
  • Out of the three Harper Songs by Hugo Wolf, we heard two in the Wilhelm Meister's songs series: Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt (Harfenspieler I) and Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass (Harfenspieler III), the first one performed by Thomas Allen and Geoffrey Parsons and the second one, in its orchestral version, by Dietrich Henschel and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Kent Nagano. As always, I’ve linked the series just in case you would like to read (or re-read) about the characters and the novel by Goethe.
  • I described Abendlied as a strange beauty. I also told you that I had fallen in love with this Lied from Schumann’s last years (Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau's version really helped) and several people told me after my posting that they had fallen in love with it too. To end Goerne's recital with such a special song will be a balm!
Sarah Connolly's programme is also worth me taking my hat off. It begins at the end of the 20th century, with Lieder by Strauss and Zemlinsky, goes through the twenties and thirties with Korngold and ends at the forties with Eisler again (in fact, we're listening to the five Hollywood-Elegien in both recitals), Copland and Britten. I love this program. We’ve heard so far only two songs, to which I'll add the third, the one I’m sharing today:
 
  • One of these two songs is Die Nacht, by Richard Strauss, a gorgeous nocturne we heard ages ago performed by Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch. And when I say ages ago I mean that it was my third post, in those times when Blogger was hosting us!
  • The second song is another wonderful song, Unvergänglichkeit, the song that opens and closes the cycle and bears the same name, Korngold's op. 27 Our version was that of Sarah Connolly, accompanied by Iain Burnside.
Today I'm presenting one of the two composers from Sarah Connolly's programme that we haven't heard yet here on Liederabend, Aaron Copland (I jotted down the other one, Zemlinsky, in my notebook). Copland is considered one of the most genuine American composers, known among us for works such as Rodeo, Appalachian Spring or Fanfare for the common man, or film soundtracks such as William Wyler's The Heiress (for which he was awarded an Oscar in 1950); I guess many of you remember Montgomery Clift-Morris and Ralph Richardson-father, mortifying poor Olivia de Havilland-Catherine.

Copland wrote only two song cycles and a handful of songs every now and then: the second of the cycles, composed between March 1949 and March 1950, is Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson. In these songs, we don't hear the characteristic "American sound" with which we identify the composer (that atmosphere of Rodeo, for instance); Copland described them as "intellectual and discreet"; He wanted, above all, to emphasize Dickinson's spirit. We're listening to the song n. 10, I've heard an organ talk sometimes while we wait for the recital on 22nd; in that song, the poet remembers the church services of her childhood. Today, our performers are Joyce DiDonato and Francis Zobel. See you in Vilabertran!
 
I've heard an organ talk sometimes
 

I’ve heard an organ talk sometimes
In a cathedral aisle
And understood no word it said
Yet held my breath the while...

And risen up and gone away,
A more Bernardine girl
And know not  what was done to me
In that old hallowed aisle.



 
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