“Wanderer’s Nachtlied” = SCHUBERT Edition Vol. 8 – Matthias Goerne, bar./ Helmut Deutsch & Eric Schneider, piano – Harmonia mundi HMC 902109 (2 CDs), TT: 2:10:30 ****:
Schubert was hardly the first one to devote so much energy to the lied; yet as time progressed many composers felt it a waste of time, as the music required was often declamatory in nature and used solely as a means of upholding the primacy of the text, which could often be more like a poetry recital than something integrated and truly musical. Schubert, who was born into the lied and died with it still on his lips, brought the form into an unbelievably sublime state, ignoring the confines of what had gone before, and translating the intricacies of the text into music so melodic and dramatic as to almost create a new art form. In Schubert’s hands poetry is not subjugated so much as transformed into something even more powerful and descriptive, and so adept was he at this bringing out of meaning that one has to wonder if names like Goethe and Seidl would carry half the weight and notoriety that they do today were it not for his “collaboration”.
Matthias Goerne has been most fortunate that HM has assigned him this Schubert series all to himself, and all the others until this one have been well-received in these pages. Volume 8 will prove no different though this edition is a rather dark one. If you like farewell, death, renunciation, loss, and the slow inexorable setting of the sun, then you will love this. And I am joking of course—not about the themes and tone of the album, but the fact that it is impossible to not be drawn into this mysterious and frail world of things that no one likes to think about today, but what the romantics dwelt upon in spades, probably in a more healthy manner than our own contemporary methodology when dealing with the inevitable.
Just listen to what Goerne, who is probably the best presenter of the emotional side of Schubert today, does with a simple song like the Litany on the first disc—hearing it you will think that music itself has peaked and there is no need to go on, for nothing better could possibly come along. The performances are that good, fully up to the previous volumes, and while the recording may not reach the exalted levels of the greatest ever set down on disc, at least volume by volume, when the whole thing is done it could well be one of the finest collections ever. All this and typical Harmonia mundi high production values with texts, translations, and fine notes.
Tracklist:An die untergehende Sonne D 457 Der Tod und das Mädchen D 531 Die Rose D 745 Erinnerung (Totenopfer) D 101 Litanei D 343 Auf dem Wasser zu singen D 774 Abendbilder D 650 Nach einem Gewitter D 561 Der Zwerg D 771 Im Frühling D 882 Die Blumensprache D 519 Viola D 786 An die Entfernte D 765 Bei dir allein D 866/2 Ganymed D 544 Wanderers Nachtlied D 768 Schäfers Klagelied D 121 Heidenröslein D 257 Rastlose Liebe D 138 An den Mond D 259 Trost in Tränen D 120 Erster Verlust D 226 Der Musensohn D 764 Geheimes D 719 Versunken D 715 An Schwager Kronos D 369 Geisternähe D 100 Das war ich D 174 Das Rosenband D 280 Furcht der Geliebten D 285 An Sie D 288 Die Liebe hat gelogen D 751 Lachen und Weinen D 777 Dass sie hier gewesen D 775 Der Einsame D 800 Die Sterne D 684