Franz Schubert Part-Songs

Franz Schubert Part-Songs

by Utrecht Vocal Soloists


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Franz Schubert Part-Songs

Part songs for male voices are less numerous than solo songs, and their heyday, in German-speaking lands during the nineteenth century, was relatively short. For Schubert, however, the genre was far from insignificant; he composed part songs for the circle of close male friends that was crucial to his rather small-scale creative world. This little disc, recorded in the Netherlands in 1989, makes an excellent case for the relevance and the sheer beauty of Schubert's part songs. Consider the several settings of Goethe's poetry presented here, works that quickly blow away any conception of the part song as a mere vehicle for beer-hall gemütlichkeit. The tense "Sehnsucht, D. 656," quite different in mood from, but nearly the equal of, the great setting of this text ("Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt..."/Only those who know longing...) for a single low voice. And the 10-minute setting of "Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, D. 714" (Song of the Spirits over the Waters), accompanied by a small string group, is as harmonically complex and as ambitious in its overall conception as anything Schubert ever wrote. (Did anyone, and could anyone, but Schubert set this extended metaphysical metaphor?) Most of the songs are accompanied by piano, and if they yield anywhere to the solo songs in terms of complexity, it is in the piano parts, most of which are subsidiary to the vocal harmonies. Hear "Nachthelle, D. 892," track 4, however -- here the piano is tasked with evoking the intensity of a clear, starlit night. That work's solo tenor part poses technical challenges, forcing the singer to whisper in hushed wonder at the very top of his range. Soloist Kor-Jan Dusseljee produces a pleasant sound in difficult circumstances, and the Utrecht Vocal Soloists and director Udo Reinemann perform all of these songs clearly and enthusiastically. They never relax into a conventional sound, and each song sounds different from all the others. The sound has a slightly echoing, ballroom-like quality. It's not so bad on the simpler numbers, but the intricacies of "Gesang der Geister über den Wassern," surely a strong candidate for the list of great Schubert masterpieces that are rarely performed, get lost in the sonic murk. Nevertheless, this disc is a real find for any Schubert lover or glee club leader looking for great material.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/09/2006
Label: Globe
UPC: 8711525502109
catalogNumber: 5021


  1. Ständchen ("Zögernd, leise"), for alto, chorus & piano ("Notturno"), D. 920 (Op. posth. 135)
  2. Die Nacht ("Wie schön bist du"), quartet for unaccompanied male voices, D. 983c (Op. 17/4)
  3. Die Nachtigall ("Bescheiden verborgen..."), quartet for male voices & piano, D. 724 (Op. 11/2)
  4. Nachthelle ("Die Nacht ist heiter..."), for tenor, male voices & piano, D. 892 (Op. posth. 134)
  5. Grab und Mond ("Silberblauer Mondenschein"), quartet for unaccompanied male voices, D. 893
  6. Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes, quartet for male & piano, D. 710
  7. La pastorella al prato, quartet for male voices & piano, D. 513
  8. Gesang der Geister über den Wassern IV ("Des Menschen Seele..."), for male voices & strings, D. 714 (Op. posth. 167)
  9. Geist der Liebe II ("Der Abend schleiert Flur und Hain"), quartet for unaccompanied male voices, D. 747 (Op. 11/3)
  10. Mondenschein ("Des Mondes Zauberblume lacht"), quintet for male voices & piano, D. 875 (Op. 102)
  11. Gondelfahrer II (Es tanzen Mond und Sterne"), quartet for male voices & piano, D. 809 (Op. 28)
  12. Psalm 23 ("Gott ist mein Hirt"), for female voices & piano, D. 706 (Op. posth. 132)
  13. Widerhall ("Auf ewig dein"), trio for male voices, D. 428
  14. Sehnsucht ("Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt"), quintet for male voices, D. 656
  15. Nachtgesang im Walde, quartet for male chorus & four horns, D. 913 (Op. posth. 139)

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