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We seem to get that something extra in the final work on the disc, Das Rot. This consists of six songs by Karoline von Günderrode. They were premièred by Christoph Pregardien in 1991, but the composer lists them as being for soprano or tenor and piano. Karoline von Günderrode (1780-1806) is an early Romantic poet whose tragically short life, plagued by depression and mental illness, ended in suicide. In these the composer responds to von Günderrode's Romantic texts with a vocal line which has considerable lyric and melodic interest; in these songs he goes beyond the nuance gesture. Clare Lesser responds with some stunning vocalism whilst keeping a clear, expressive purity of tone, though I still felt that she could have had more feel for the words [listen -- track 20, 0:00-1:27]. One rather surprising influence, surfaced in the last song on the disc [listen -- track 25, 0:15-1:25], and that is Kurt Weill in his early Busoni-influence German period.

This is fine achievement from these young artists. The disc has barely scratched the surface of Rihm's vocal output and we must hope that more record companies will take up the challenge. But until then, this disc gives us some powerful songs in creditable performances.

Copyright © 13 February 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK


Wolfgang Rihm Lieder

MSV CD92068 DDD Stereo 71'33" 2003 Metier Sound and Vision Ltd

Clare Lesser, soprano; David Lesser, piano

Wolfgang Rihm (born 1952): Ende der Handschrift (1999; Elf späte Gedichte von Heiner Müller); Drei Gedichte von Monique Thoné (1997); Lenz-Fragmente (1980; Fünf Gedichte von J M R Lenz); Das Rot (1990; Karoline von Günderrode)



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