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Intense Oxford Lieder efficiency of Dichterliebe from James Atkinson and pianist Sholto Kynoch – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom Oxford Lieder Pageant 2022 [6] – R. Schumann, Elena Langer, Johanna Kinkel: Anna Dennis and Caroline Taylor (sopranos), Hugh Reducing (countertenor), James Atkinson (baritone), Sir Thomas Allen (narrator), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Roman Mints (violin), Emmanuella Reiter (viola), Kristina Blaumane (cello), Richard Gowers (harpsichord), George Eire, Sholto Kynoch (piano). Holywell Music Room, Oxford 21.10.2022. (CR)

Johanna Kinkel – Nachtlied, Op.7 No.1; Wunsch, Op.7 No.2; The Lorelei, Op.7 No.4; Die nah’st!, Op.15 No.2; Stormy Wandering, Op.18 No.6
R. Schumann – Dichterliebe, Op.48
Elena Langer Panorama with Three Individuals

Interspersed with readings from Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger

The principal a part of this programme was devised by Steven Walter, and first introduced on the Beethovenfest, Bonn. It cleverly interspersed Schumann’s nice cycle Dichterliebe with 5 readings extracted from Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger, such that every discrete sequence of songs aptly paralleled the episode from the novella with which it was juxtaposed. Regardless of the breaks, the songs got within the order Robert Schumann supposed in order that the narrative trajectory which he solid in them from the varied verses taken from the poetry of Heinrich Heine remained intact.

Schumann’s cycle obtained an intense efficiency from James Atkinson, and Sholto Kynoch on the piano, complementing the energetic, dramatic thrust of Sir Thomas Allen’s readings of Mann, capturing each the authorial voice of irony within the novella and compassion for traumatic growth of the delicate title character as an artist and human being. Likewise, Atkinson didn’t simply narrate the story of a love misplaced and gained in Dichterliebe as an onlooker, as some accounts do, however as if working by a still-painful private reminiscence. Fairly than a foursquare lyricism all through, Atkinson typically enunciated the poet’s phrases with fast vividness, although nonetheless retaining full musical integrity and sense in every tune. There was excitability and alacrity within the opening songs, giving strategy to a compelling gentleness or inwardness in these songs expressing, respectively, tenderness or sorrow, and at different instances a hushed, hesitant disbelief or shock on the poet’s betrayed love. Telling, too, was his vociferous manner with ‘Ich grolle nicht’, giving the misinform his not bearing a grudge of which the tune speaks, and within the ironic comedy of ‘Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen’ (‘A boy loves a woman’) underlining its annoyed ethical that such betrayed love ‘is an previous story but stays ever new’ – right here, not merely a second-hand lesson, however hard-won expertise.

Kynoch’s demonstrative accompaniment was totally concerned with the narrative additionally, not merely illustrative, for instance within the emphatic cadence on the finish of the third tune, after having left the concluding chords of the earlier two hanging in suspense, in order to attract these three collectively in a compelling arc. The grief of the cycle’s later part was amply presaged within the solemn octave bass line of ‘Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome’, presumably mimicking an organ to suggest the huge cathedral of Cologne that’s referred to within the tune, in addition to harking to the penultimate motion of the composer’s ‘Rhenish’ Symphony No.3 which conjures precisely the identical scene, while the piano’s little punctuating phrases in ‘Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet’ commented with grim irony upon the poet’s sorrow.

Additionally interspersed amongst sequences from Schumann and Mann had been the eight songs of Elena Langer’s Panorama with Three Individuals, setting phrases by Lee Harwood. They handled the identical topic of jealousy and heartbreak inside a love triangle, however in a contemporary, ambient musical type – with the accompaniment of oboe, strings, and harpsichord – slightly than within the developmental method of Schumann. Hugh Reducing and Anna Dennis gave as incisively involving accounts as Atkinson of Dichterliebe, not least with Reducing’s penetrating countertenor voice each highly effective and ethereal, attending to the purpose of the terse poetry.

As a part of the Oxford Lieder Pageant’s rising artists programme, the primary part of the live performance featured a handful of songs by Johanna Kinkel, a composer born in Bonn in 1810. Caroline Taylor, and George Eire on the piano, gelled cogently in these attractively lyrical settings, which had one thing of Mendelssohn’s melodic fluency to them, giving them a worthwhile outing.

Curtis Rogers

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