Schoeck: Elegie, Op. 36 / Gerhaher, Holliger, Basel Chamber Orchestra

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On his new album Elegie, Sony Classical artist and pre-eminent lieder singer Christian Gerhaher returns to the beguiling beauty and dark melancholy of late-Romantic Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck.

Schoeck’s song-cycle Elegie was compared to music ‘from another world’ when it was first performed in 1923 and remains one of the unappreciated wonders of the lieder repertoire. Its 24 songs, accompanied by an ensemble of 15 instrumentalists, trace a narrative of aching farewells, lost love, and fading beauty.

Christian Gerhaher is in demand the world over for his instantly recognizable baritone voice, which combines lightness and lyricism with unparalleled depth of meaning. It is the perfect vessel for Austro-German lieder and has found a resonant home in Schoeck’s music. Following in the footsteps of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gerhaher has already proved himself a renowned exponent of Schoeck’s Notturno for baritone and string quartet.

On this new recording of Elegie, Gerhaher’s characteristic plangent delivery and intimacy with the microphone reveal the glowing beauty of these curious and captivating songs, which set handpicked poems by Eichendorff and Lenau. The cycle presents a series of atmospheric portraits linked by a first person half-narrative that slips and slides between emotional states, much of it stalked by a deep sense of loneliness.

Schoeck’s dark, introspective score has prompted intrigue among musicologists and historians. Some speculate that Elegie was a reaction to the composer’s intense but ultimately unhappy relationship with the pianist Mary de Senger, and his coming to terms with its anguished end (Elegie is dedicated to the pianist). Others have interpreted the work as Schoeck’s farewell to Romanticism, as the musical avant-garde moved to a place he no longer understood.

Schoeck’s music did react to contemporary trends. Elegie’s etched, precise and luminous ensemble of 15 players glances in the direction of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat.

On this recording, Gerhaher is joined by the boutique ensemble that is the Basel Chamber Orchestra and conductor Heinz Holliger.

“Gerhaher caught the cycle’s introspection perfectly” The Guardian on Schoeck’s Notturno

TRACKLIST

1.           Wehmut
2.           Liebesfrühling
3.           Stille Sicherheit
4.           Frage nicht
5.           Warnung und Wunsch
6.           Zweifelnder Wunsch
7.           Waldlied
8.           Waldgang
9.           An den Wind
10.         Kommen und Scheiden
11.         Vesper
12.         Herbstklage
13.         Herbstgefühl
14.         Nachklang
15.         Herbstgefühl
16.         Das Mondlicht
17.         Vergangenheit
18.         Waldlied
19.         Herbstentschluss
20.         Verlorenes Glück
21.         Angedenken
22.         Welke Rose
23.         Dichterlos
24.         Der Einsame



Product Description:


  • Release Date: April 22, 2022


  • Catalog Number: 19439963302


  • UPC: 194399633021


  • Label: Sony SRM Exclusive


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: Late Romantic


  • Composer: Othmar Schoeck


  • Conductor: Heinz Holliger


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Basel Chamber Orchestra


  • Performer: Christian Gerhaher



Works:


  1. Elegie, Op. 36

    Composer: Othmar Schoeck

    Ensemble: Basel Chamber Orchestra

    Performer: Christian Gehaher

    Conductor: Henz Holliger