“Behind the Lines” [TrackList follows] – Anna Prohaska, sop./ Eric Schneider, p. – DGG

by | Aug 27, 2014 | Classical CD Reviews

“Behind the Lines” [TrackList follows] – Anna Prohaska, sop./ Eric Schneider, p. – DGG 479 2472, 76:04 [Distr. by Universal] *****:

This is one terrific album. And a bold concept. Though the notes say that Prohaska is not making any sort of political statement in selecting these songs that reflect the life of soldiers, with texts dating from the Thirty Year’s War to WWII, the anti-war point is made clear. And it’s not overt—even the most hawkish politico will find sympathy with the idea of war as an aberration in the human experience, something which robs youth of promise and old age of fulfillment. These songs, twenty-five “colors” that shed light on many aspects of a soldier’s existence, point to the tragedy of war for those engaged in the front lines, and also to those bringing up the rear, never entirely innocent even if not actively participating. The languages—German, English, French, and Russian—reflect the catholicity of the accounts and the extent to which the sentiments have been echoed by all cultures, though rarely enough to prevent catastrophe from occurring.

This is as intelligent and pertinent an album as has been heard for a while, and though the subject matter is indeed a serious reflection on a serious subject, the music often provides a soothing balm to our anxieties, offering a sober and calming persuasion while appealing to our emotional depths in a quiet manner as only great art can.

Recorded at the Bavarian Radio, Anna Prohaska’s latest solo outing continues to raise her star in the eyes of music lovers everywhere. Her voice is a model of perfect diction, with thoughtful and deep intellect presenting itself in every bar. It certainly doesn’t hurt that her soprano is so luscious. Eric Schneider offers sympathetic and closely-wedded accompaniment to make for an outstanding release! Translations are provided.


Beethoven: Die Trommel geruhret
Cavendish: Wand’ring In This Place
Eisler: Kriegslied eines Kindes (from Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11); Panzerschlacht; Die letzte Elegie; Die Heimkehr
Ives: In Flanders Fields; ‘1, 2, 3′; Tom Sails Away
Liszt: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, S293
Mahler: Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
Poulenc: Le Retour du sergent
Quilter: Fear no More
Rachmaninov: To my sorrow I have grown to love
Rihm: Untergang, Op. 1
Schubert: Kriegers Ahnung D 957, No. 2; Raste Krieger, Krieg ist aus (Ellens Gesang I), D837
Schumann: Die beiden Grenadiere, Op. 49 No. 1; Der Soldat, Op. 40, No. 3
trad.: Es geht ein dunkle Wolk herein
Traill: My Luve’s In Germanie
Weill, K: Beat! Beat! Drums!; Dirge For Two Veterans
Wolf, H: Der Tambour (No. 5 from Mörike-Lieder); Der Soldat II (No. 6 from Eichendorff-Lieder)

—Steven Ritter

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