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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hans Pfitzner - Orchestral Songs (Hans Christoph Begemann)


Composer: Hans Pfitzner
  1. Die Heinzelmännchen, Op. 14
  2. Der Trompeter, Op. 25 No. 1
  3. Klage, Op. 25 No. 2
  4. Herr Oluf, Op. 12
  5. Es glänzt so schön die sinkende Sonne, Op. 4 No. 1
  6. Sie haben heut' Abend Gesellschaft, Op. 4 No. 2
  7. Es fällt ein Stern herunter, Op. 4 No. 3
  8. Es fasst mich wieder der alte Mut, Op. 4 No. 4
  9. Nachts, Op. 26 No. 2
  10. Zorn, Op. 15 No. 2
  11. An die Mark, Op. 15 No. 3
  12. Ist der Himmel darum im Lenz so blau, Op. 2 No. 2
  13. Herbstlied, Op. 3 No. 2
  14. Mein Herz ist wie die dunkle Nacht, Op. 3 No. 3
  15. Lethe, Op. 37
  16. Wanderers Nachtlied, Op. 40 No. 5
  17. An den Mond, Op. 18
  18. Willkommen und Abschied, Op. 29 No. 3

Hans Christoph Begemann, baritone
Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie
Otto Tausk, conductor

Date: 2010
Label: cpo




CPO already has recorded the complete Pfitzner Lieder for voice and piano, surely not one of the label’s best-selling projects. This disc suggests that the music deserves more serious attention, at least from Lieder fans. The performances here are wholly wonderful and show this fitfully inspired composer in the best possible light. His scoring is invariably deft and colorful, and his tunes are ingratiatingly singable.

Pfitzner isn’t known for his sense of humor (my colleague Bob Levine memorably described his monumental opera Palestrina as “Parsifal without the laughs”), but just listen to De Heinzelmännchen (The Little People), an adorable fairy-tale tone poem for voice and orchestra lasting around 10 minutes. It’s the biggest number in the program (there are 18 in all), full of good humor and vocal high-jinks, brilliantly exploiting a large orchestra. At the opposite end of the size scale come the brief but opulent Op. 4 Heine settings. Two others among the poets most frequently encountered: Eichendorff and, of course, Goethe (“Wanderers Nachtlied”, “An den Mond”, and others).

Baritone Hans Christoph Begemann is about as fine a Lieder singer as we have any right to expect. His voice is smooth and even throughout its range, and he knows how to characterize a text without shouting, crooning, or otherwise indulging in the usual Lieder singer’s book of irritating tricks. In large pieces such as the ballad-like Herr Oluf (text by Herder) he captivates with his story-telling ability and sense of drama. The accompaniments under conductor Otto Tausk couldn’t be more aptly judged, or more finely engineered. If you enjoy the orchestral Lieder of Mahler and Strauss, then this disc is a must.

-- David HurwitzClassicsToday


Hans Pfitzner (5 May 1869 – 22 May 1949) was a German composer and self-described anti-modernist. His best known work is the post-Romantic opera Palestrina, loosely based on the life of the sixteenth-century composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Pfitzner's music, including pieces in all the major genres except the symphonic poem, was respected by contemporaries such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. His works combine Romantic and Late Romantic elements with extended thematic development, atmospheric music drama, and the intimacy of chamber music. Pfitzner's students included musicians such as Otto Klemperer, Charles Münch and Carl Orff.


Hans Christoph Begemann (born February 4th, 1962 in Hamburg) is German baritone and teacher. He studied with Claus Ocker at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg, with Ernst Haefliger in Munich, and with Aldo Baldin at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe. Accompanied by pianist Helmut Deutsch and regularly with his duo partner Thomas Seyboldt for 20 years, Begemann has brought over 300 songs by Franz Schubert to the concert stage. Composers such as Wolfgang Rihm, Manfred Trojahn, Juan Allende Blin, Wilhelm Killmayer, Moritz Eggert und Peter Ruzicka wrote songs for Begemann.


FLAC, tracks
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