Saturday, 23 October 2010

Complete Hugo Wolf Mörike songs

Has the complete Hugo Wolf Mörike collection been recorded in one take? There's one coming up now. The first half was recorded Friday 22/10 at the Holywell Music Room, part of the Oxford Lieder Festival.  Second part is 23/10 if you can get in.

The small hall was absolutely packed, wonderful atmosphere, everyone crammed together but intently listening. Some of that energy must have come across into the performances. An almost palpable sense of connection between performers and audience - personal, direct communication. This recording, hopefully, will feel "live".

This recording shows what can be done with enterprise, enthusiasm, dedication, and bold artistic vision. An inspiration for all! Last week, OLF needed 40 sponsors for the recording. Before tonight's concert, 22 had signed up. After the concert, there was a line of people eager to join in. The target will be reached and the money will be used well. CD sales will go towards Oxford Lieder's ongoing projects like the masterclasses, commissions and scholarship and also next year's 10th anniversary Festival. Plus, it's a good addition to the Hugo Wolf discography.

If tonight's performance is anything to go by, the CD will be worth getting. Singers were Oxford Lieder stalwarts, Stephan Loges, Sophie Daneman, Anna Grevelius and James Gilchrist with OLF 's creative leader Sholto Kynoch at the piano. All are well established and hardly need introductions. Anna is a regular at the ENO - she was Seibel and Vavara not long ago. Sholto's a charismatic player, very empathic, which makes him a good pianist for song. He also plays solo and chamber music but he's specially good at motivating singers to give their best.

With fifty-three songs, there are many good moments, everyone doing well. James Gilchrist was in very good form, animated, expressive, full of feeling. yet with the panache that works well in Wolf. Loved that final Auf eine altes Bild. (Read a commentary on the song here)

Check out the Oxford Lieder website for more - hard copy brochure can be downloaded online.

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