Soprano Christiane Oelze and pianist Eric Schneider in a highly praised survey of Webern’s Lieder, released initially in 1995. Forty songs on a generous CD of 76 minutes.
Anton Webern’s first composition was the song ‘Vorfrühling’, composed on his 16th birthday in 1899. Not surprisingly, it was very much in the style of Schubert and Schumann Lieder, with nods towards Wolf and Strauss. However, a certain restraint and economy that manages to deliver powerful emotional content is present – something that would become a hallmark of his later style. Study with Schoenberg and the adoption of his 12- tone technique allowed Webern to use his spare textures and skill at setting words to greater effect. Here one can chart Webern’s progress from the earliest Schubertian effort, to the songs that just about cling to tonality (the mysterious night- inspired fantasies of the Dehmel cycle) with their subdued and intense atmosphere that evoke the Wagner of Tristan, to the transparent textures of the later works with their allusions to ländler and Bach.
New notes and sung texts
“Christiane Oelze’s voice and musicianship are well suited to the songs. Her voice is not large, but by careful control of dynamics she can easily encompass those infrequent moments where a big phrase or an ample
gesture is required. The sound is pure and bright, and her sense of line is as admirable as her intonation. If anything, I was even more impressed by her pianist, an artist of great intelligence, refinement and command
of colour. The recording balances them very well.”
“Oelze offers a revelatory and light-filled journey through the songs of Webern.”
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