Some of you surely know that Johannes Brahms began his career in music as a singer’s coach and piano accompanist. He also conducted choruses; his ultimate contributions as a composer came somewhat later, with the encouragement and support of Robert Schumann and Robert’s wife, Clara.
This CD recording on Hyperion gives us several of the songs and vocal works of Brahms. We can hear 29 tracks of some of Brahms’ most wonderful songs. These are done in ascending Opus number, so the songs are in approximate order of publication, rather than by composition date.
The celebrated mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager is featured in this recording. She enjoys an international career as one of today’s most important singers, dividing her time between recitals and opera in Europe, North America and the Far East.
Here are the titles of some of the songs performed:
Herbstgefühl (‘Wie wenn im frost’gen Windhauch tödlich’), song for voice & piano, Op. 48/7 (Fall is in the Air)
O komme, holde Sommernacht vershwiegen, song for voice & piano, Op. 58
(Come, summer night…)
Auf dem See (‘Blauer Himmel, blaue Wogen’), song for voice & piano, Op. 59/2 (On the lake)
Junge Liebe I (‘Meine Liebe ist grün wie der Fliederbusch’), song for voice & piano, Op. 63/5 (Young Love I)
Junge Liebe II (‘Wenn um den Holunder der Abendwind kost’), song for voice & piano, Op. 63/6 (Young Love II)
Abendregen (‘Langsam und schimmernd’), song for voice & piano, Op. 70/4
This is a wonderful collection, sung with great expression, style, and musical sensitivity by Ms. Kirschlager. We hear her lyrical interpretation of “Young Love I”, where the poet (and Brahms) tell us that the “…Love is as green as a Lilac bush…”. The entire environment is later changed during the presentation of “Evening Rain”. Here the singer and accompanist give us a beautiful, sensitive, yet much more somber expression.
Below are some examples of Ms. Kirschlager’s great singing voice for your own enjoyment:
Brahms: “Die Blümelein sie schlafen” (The flowers, they are sleeping)
And: “Es träumte mir” – I am dreaming