What we have in this CD are three amazing forces:
1. The poems, written by Heinrich Heine called Poet’s Love are marvelous expressions of human emotions of Love. Frequently they are sad; yet occasionally also amusing and funny.
2. Then we have the genius of Robert Schumann, who set these poems to music. And over the years, both male and female musicians have provided exciting, satisfying interpretations of these Lieder. (See Barbara Bonney’s DVD elsewhere in my Blog)
3. The great artistry of Thomas Hampson, who gives us a sensitive, musical rendition of the musical setting of these poems.
Thomas Hampson has established a marvelous reputation as a terrific singer, especially of Mahler Lieder. During his visit at the Berlin State Library, Hampson studied Robert Schumann’s original version of the Dichterliebe songs that are recorded here. Schumann’s title in the manuscript is: ‘Zwanzig Lieder und Gesänge aus dem “Lyrischen Intermezzo” im “Buch der Lieder” [Heinrich Heine]’) (English: Twenty Lieder and Songs from the “Lyric Intermezzo” in the Book of Songs by Heinrich Heine). Thus, when Hampson came to sing a recital in Munich in 2007 he decided to sing the original version. This is its first recording.
There are some changes that the knowledgeable listener will easily hear in this version vs. the currently performed version. In the end, however, this is Schumann/Heine, and thus music that is simply wonderful to enjoy for what it is. For me, having access to the text of the songs helps to appreciate the music even more.
The rest of the DVD, which is taken from two performances at Munich’s Prinzregententheater on December 18 & 20, 2007, includes Schumann’s ‘Zwölf Gedichte’ (‘Twelve Poems’), texts by Justinus Kerner. Hampson’s sensitive accompanist is the distinguished pianist Wolfram Rieger.
Here is a 2-minutes extract of this recording: