Angelika Kirchschlager and James Sherlock at the National Concert Hall as part of the Sunday Matinee Series, November 23rd 2014.
The German art song, or Lied, is one of the most admired mergings of words and music. This the final concert in the National Concert Hall Autumn Sunday Matinée Series sees a celebration to the genre that has captured the hearts of many of music’s finest composers. Here the contributions of Brahms, Schubert, Schumann and Liszt to Lieder are exhibited. To add to an impressive programme the stage is dominated by the Austrian Grammy award-winner Angelika Kirchschlager and esteemed pianist James Sherlock.
Opening with Brahms’ Meine Liebe is Grun, the short piece firmly sets the tone of the afternoon as Kirchschlager confidently affirms her presence in front of a modest crowd. As the programme progresses, Kirchschlager mezzo voice moves seamlessly through each text, embracing the character and mood of the lyrics. This is particularly true for the emotive Von Ewiger Liebe where an emotive vocal line is completed by Shelock’s turbulent piano.
When it comes to Lieder, Schubert must be the master of the genre. It is no surprise then when many of his well-known tunes resonate through the stalls. Again, Kirchschlager’s technique is flawless as she travels through some favourites, including An Silvia and Seligkeit.
The programme’s nod at Schumann further enhances the afternoon. It becomes increasingly clear that Kirchschlager and Sherlock are not only at ease with the repertoire but with each other as well. The lesser known composer of Lieder brings the programme to a close. Although not known for his songs, both Kirchschlager and Sherlock relish the poetic lyrics and well balanced musical lines.
With the performance running slightly ahead of schedule we are treated to more of what the German arts song has to offer through an extensive encore. At this stage the warmth between the two performers has made its way through the hall and by the time Strauss’ Nichts comes around it is as if we are all old friends out for the afternoon.
In all, this was a flawless event. Those that had the gumption to attend the matinee performance were not only exposed to two great musicians but had the privilege of hearing some of the finest examples of what the German art song has to offer.
Meine liebe ist grün Op. 6 No. 5
Übe die Heide Op. 86 No. 4
Der Gang zum Liebchen Op. 48 No. 1
Therese Op. 8 No. 1
Von Ewiger Liebe
Gretchen am Spinnrade
Liebeslied Op. 51 No. 5
Die Soldatenbraut Op. 64 No. 1
Der König im Thule
Die drei Zigeuner
Der du von der Himmel bist