This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the late nineteenth century lieder composer Hugo Wolf, and to mark this event the celebrated lyric tenor Christophe Pregardien, renowned for his work in this area of the repertoire, is joined by soprano Julia Kleiter in a recording of one of Wolf’s key compositions, the “Italienisches Liederbuch” (Italian Songbook).
Born 1956 in Limburg, Germany, Christoph Prégardien is widely regarded as among the foremost lyric tenors of our time. Over the last few years he has produced three critically acclaimed lieder recordings for Challenge Classics, the first two of which have featured Schubert’s great song cycles “Die Schöne Müllerin” (CC72292), and “Schwanengesang” (CC72302). Most recently, in 2009 he released a beautifully compiled collection of songs entitled “Between Life and Death” (CC72324). Julia Kleiter first came to prominence in 2004 when she made her debut as ‘Pamina‘ in a production “Die Zauberflöte“ at Opéra Bastille in Paris. Since then she has performed under Marc Minkowski in Paris and Madrid, and Claudio Abbado at the Edinburgh Festival.
The two parts of Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook were written in 1891 and 1896 during a period in which the composer’s physical and psychological health was rapidly deteriorating. It was to be his last important composition, Today Wolf is considered to be one of the most important 19th Century lieder composers, but that recognition was slow in coming. As late as 1931, admirers felt compelled to begin a Hugo Wolf Society to make his lieder better known via gramophone recordings.
“Both Prégardien and Kleiter (with their excellent pianist Hilko Dumno aiding and abetting) offer larger than life portrayals...Prégardien, with his baritonic tenor, finds the measure of each passing emotion; Kleiter's soprano offers both heartfelt sorrow and feisty riposte.”
6th January 2011
“[Prégardien's] meticulous attention to detail, and ability to establish mood and character without ever descending into caricature, are given extra definition by the baritonal quality of his lower register, and the pianist Hilko Dumno follows his lead in avoiding any kind of exaggeration...Julia Kleiter provide a nice foil, too”
“Prégardien ranks amongst the most respected artists of our time and often he sings here with vivid expression in terms of verbal intelligence...The pianist, Hilko Dumno, makes a strong impression and I cannot remember ever having heard the fearsome postlude to 'Ich hab, in Penna' played with such panache.”
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