Mozart: Lieder

Mozart: Lieder

by Suzie LeBlanc

CD

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Overview

Mozart: Lieder

Is there a subgroup of works among the creations of top composers that has been more neglected than Mozart's songs? They're neglected partly because they're a very mixed bag; they were mostly composed for specific purposes, and they don't develop as a group in an orderly way as do, say, the piano concertos. At any rate, any new recording of Mozart's songs is good to have -- the album title referring to "Lieder" is a bit misleading, for there are songs in French and Italian here as well as German. There are some real masterpieces among the 22 songs included here (out of about three dozen Mozart wrote). Plunge right into "Abendempfindung (Evening Emotion), K. 522," for one of the finest of the group, with a flexibility of melodic line that strongly suggests Schubert -- and for an example of the unusual but persuasive approach to the songs employed here by Québec soprano Suzie LeBlanc and fortepianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin. They apparently have concluded that the obstacle to appreciating Mozart's songs is that concert-hall-sized performances overwhelm them. So the performers forcibly downsize the scale to the size of a room. LeBlanc's singing is light and quiet, with very little vibrato, and Nézet-Séguin's fortepiano is pushed way back in the balance to a point where it seems almost a spectral presence. The balance seems strange at first, but hear how well it works on an almost minimal piece like "Komm, liebe Zither (Come, dear zither), K 351." And it brings out what annotator Pierre Vachon propounds as a quasi-popular strain of the Mozart-era lied, which was intended for amateurs -- the many innocent-sounding songs like the fairly famous "Das Veilchen (The Violet), K. 476," are allowed to reveal their little subtleties. The selection includes some real oddities, like the early "An die Freude (To Joy), K. 53" (this is not the Schiller "Ode to Joy," which wasn't written until 1785) and the Masonic voice-and-piano cantata "Die ihr des unermeßlichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt (You who honor the Creator of the immeasurable universe), K. 619." LeBlanc's singing is an ingratiating delight throughout, completely avoiding the squarish phrasing that Baroque specialists sometimes bring to Mozart. The negatives here are minor: an occasional French-accented German word from LeBlanc, an over-echoic acoustic in the St.-Augustin de Mirabel church -- an often-used venue, but one that was wrong for this intimate project. On the whole, though, this may become the definitive reading of Mozart's songs.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/30/2006
Label: Atma Classique
UPC: 0722056232722
catalogNumber: 22327
Rank: 237851

Tracks

  1. Abendempfindung an Laura ("Abend ist's"), song for voice & piano, K. 523
  2. Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling ("Komm, lieber Mai"), song for voice & piano, K. 596
  3. Im Frühlingsanfang ("Erwacht zum neuen Leben"), song for voice & piano, K. 597
  4. Dans un bois solitaire, song for voice & piano, K. 308 (K. 295b)
  5. Oiseaux, si tous les ans, song for voice & piano, K. 307 (K. 284d)
  6. Das Veilchen, song for voice & piano, K. 476
  7. Der Zauberer ("Ihr Mädchen"), song for voice & piano, K. 472
  8. Komm, liebe Zither, komm, song for voice & mandolin (or piano), K. 351 (K. 367b )
  9. An die Freude ("Freude, Königin der Weisen"), song for voice & piano, K. 53 (K. 47e)
  10. Das Lied der Trennung ("Die Engel Gottes weinen"), song for voice & piano, K. 519
  11. Als Luise die Briefe ("Erzeugt von heisser Phantasie"), song for voice & piano, K. 520
  12. Das Kinderspiel ("Wir Kinder, wir schmecken"), song for voice & piano, K. 598
  13. An die Hoffnung ("Ich würd auf meinem Pfad"), song for voice & piano, K. 390 (K. 340c)
  14. An die Einsamkeit ("Sei du mein trost"), song for voice & piano, K. 391 (K. 340b)
  15. An Chloe ("Wenn die Lieb'"), song for voice & piano, K. 524
  16. Die grossmütige Gelassenheit, song for voice & piano (doubtful), K. 149 (K.125d)
  17. Wie unglücklich bin ich nit, song for voice & piano, K. 147 (K. 125g)
  18. Ridente la calma, song for voice & piano, K. 152 (K. 210a) (spurious, by Myslivecek)
  19. Das Traumbild ("Wo bist du, Bild"), song for voice & piano, K. 530
  20. Die Betrogene Welt ("Der reiche Tor"), song for voice & piano, K. 474
  21. Gesellenreise ("Die ihr einem neuen Grad"), song for voice & piano, K. 468
  22. Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, cantata for voice & piano, K. 619

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