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Scardanelli Dreams seems naturally to develop the very literary tendencies evident in these other pieces which are, in some important respects, Songs without Words, but in this last work the voice (Sue Anderson) appears in its own right. Scardanelli was one of the noms-de-plume Holderlin used in his last, 'mad' poems.

To describe this music as 'Words without Song' would not necessarily be mischievous. The music from the piano is deliberately detached from that of the voice and yet the effect is of a curiously integrated, deeply sympathetic rhapsody. Holderlin's madness is subverted by music brilliantly characterised through Connolly's response to the famous one-word verse -- fleißig (busy) of Auf falbem Laube -- which he inflects into almost every part of this cantata/cycle. For all that Sue Anderson projects the words sensuously, this remains a labyrinth of extremely difficult, essentially cerebral, music [listen -- track 4, 2:23-3:21] -- itself an image of Holderlin's almost ruined but uncannily perceptive mind. Nicolas Hodges, the pianist throughout this disc, masters every nuance the musical landscape requires. He can mention as well as mutter, demonstrate as well as remonstrate, but his formidable technique dissolves difficulty and urges on us the attention this music deserves.

Copyright © 24 March 2002 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK






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