Tag: Lieder

Another cure for insomnia: Romantic song edition

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m worried about something or in a general state of stress, I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain simply will not go back to sleep. It is infuriating, but there’s at least one fix. This happened to me the other day, and because I had been listening to some Schumann I decided to think about Schumann’s Op. 39 Liederkreis. Not listen to it, just think about it, song by song, recalling as much of the text and the music and various interpretive turns as I possibly could.

It totally worked! Somewhere around the fourth song, “Die Stille,” I was out like a Vöglein that has been shot by a lonely wanderer in the forest under the rustling trees. (Do they ever shoot birds in Lieder? I can’t seem to recall a instance of it, but there’s probably some obscure set of “Eight Nasty Little Songs” by Hugo Wolf or somesuch that is all about shooting birds.)

LiederOwl would rather not be shot, thanks

LiederOwl would rather not be shot, thanks.

It’s surprising what you could get away with saying in the nineteenth century . . .

. . . as long as you didn’t actually say it, of course.

Here is Dorothea Röschmann at the Edinburgh International Festival, from her recital on August 19, singing Hugo Wolf’s “Erstes Liebeslied eines Mädchens” / “A girl’s first love song.” Text by Eduard Mörike.

(Texts in German and English here.)

Schwarzkopf singing Lieder

20130623-215246.jpg My modus operandi with music – and a lot of other things, I guess – is to hear something, get obsessed with it and listen to it over and over again until everyone I talk to is heartily sick of hearing about it. The thing I have been obsessed with the last week or two is this recording, or rather compilation of parts of other recordings, of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf singing Schubert, Schumann and Strauss songs.

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Magdalena Kožená / Carnegie Hall 2-23-13

I have been listening to a lot of German songs lately, and this recital – songs, but not German ones for the most part – was a pleasant change. It was in the larger of Carnegie Hall’s two auditoriums, the Perelman stage, and when I was reading about the concert on their website beforehand, there was a little snippet of a conversation with Kožená herself in which she said something that implied she was aware of a potential mismatch between the size of that hall and the repertoire. Not in a critical way, just in a “this may be interesting” sort of way.

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Friday Mahler

So, I amused myself for a while yesterday afternoon listening to a concert, the one from the BBC that included Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and 12 of Mahler’s songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. The orchestra was the LSO under Manfred Honeck, and the soloists were Dorothea Röschmann and Ian Bostridge.

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Thursday insomniac interlude

I woke up at four-thirty yesterday morning and could not go back to sleep. It happens sometimes. Normally I can teach and work adequately on four hours of sleep, although I tend to get a little punchy and silly by mid-afternoon. (Fortunately, I teach in the morning. Also fortunately, I have the sort of job where if you feel like shutting your office door and curling up on the floor for a nap mid-afternoon, no one objects.)

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Schumann / Liederkreis, Op. 39 / Röschmann

This is probably an extremely predictable statement coming from me, but art songs are not something that I think I ever appreciated fully until I heard Dorothea Röschmann singing some of them. There is a specific recital of hers from London in 2007 of songs by Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Wolf and de Falla that I have a bootleg copy of – I got my hands on it because I loved her opera performances, but by the end of it I’d definitely learned something about Lieder.

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Half of a Lieder recital and a plea for assistance

[Update, 5/5/12 – the whole recital, with texts for all the songs, is here.]

So, I just finished listening to Röschmann and Drake’s recital – lovely as expected. Here is the second half:


A technical problem (damn you Comcast!) caused me to miss the first three Schumann songs of the first half, and as a result my recording of that is a bit truncated. So, if anyone happened to, you know, record it, or knows where a recording of it might be found, or where one might hear the live stream over again, well – help a lady out, eh? You will have my heartfelt thanks.