A century of songwriting, like an EU avant la lettre


In part four of what is to become ‘A Century of Song Art 1810-1910’, divided into decades, we find songs composed between 1840 and 1850. The fact that the best singers of the present day are involved, makes this project one of the best publications of recent years in this field.

The programme is very varied and knows no borders or genres, and the emotions alternate rapidly. Sweden, Russia, France, Germany and Italy stand brotherly side by side, a kind of EU avant la lettre in which each country retains its individual characteristics.

This very exciting and surprising ‘journey’ starts in 1840, which means that we begin with Liederkreis op. 24 by Schumann. The bittersweet cycle based on Heine’s poems is still one of the most beautiful and best composed in the art of song.



The performance by Florian Boesch is exactly what I expected. Less lyrical perhaps than many of his fellow singers, but with so much empathy that it hurts. In his interpretation you can hear the bitter and the sweet: it hurts but it is also poetic and therefore very impressive.

Anush Hovhannisyan and Alexey Gusev enchant us with the songs that Dargomyzsky wrote for his students, and Ida Eveline Ränzlöv is convincing in Lindblad’s light and trivial songs.

Malcolm Martineau, to whom we owe the project, has for years been one of the best singer-pianists in the world. He effortlessly conveys the various emotions and it is undoubtedly to his credit that the publication is extremely captivating from the first to the last note.

All texts are printed in the original language and in English translation, and the introduction by Professor Susan Youens is very interesting to read. Buy the CD and be surprised!

Decades. A Century of Song volume 4
Liederen van Schumann, Dargomyzsky, Donizetti, Franck, Geijer, Josephson, Lindblad, Mendelssohn
Anush Hovhannisyan (soprano), Ida Eveline Ränzlöv (mezzo-soprano), Nick Pritchard (tenor); Oliver Johnston (tenor), Florian Boesch (baritone), Alexey Gusev (baritone), Samuel Hasselhorn (baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano); Vivat 119

part 2:
DECADES: A CENTURY OF SONGS, vol.2

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