Robert Franz (1815-1892) was an unjustly neglected German composer who specialised almost entirely in lieder and was highly thought of in his day, being admired by Liszt, Mendelssohn and Schumann. This is a collection and sequence of beautiful and very moving miniatures (nearly all previously unrecorded), with the songs shared between and superbly performed by soprano Harriet Burns and tenor William Searle - both hugely talented young soloists with sensitive accompaniments from pianists Marc Verter and Sebastian Wybrew. The gorgeous recorded sound was engineered by Tony Faulkner and the sessions produced by Mike Purton. This is a double album containing all 51 songs set by Franz to poems by Wilhelm Osterwald (1820-1827), the project being originated by musicologist Victoria Edge, who through her research has discovered that composer and poet were even closer than very close friends as can be seen in the texts. It's a delightful and very moving musical journey about unrequited love and will be available for general release in early November.
As well as containing two CDs, this set has a most informative 60 page booklet including excellent programme notes and detail about the lives of and the relationship between the composer and the poet by Victoria Edge, with a very enthusiastic introduction by none other than Graham Johnson OBE. Each relatively short song is a work of art and the 51 songs (plus Franz’s only tiny composition for solo piano) are equally divided into the four seasons, to help tell the story. Franz was certainly unparalleled as a miniaturists and this album is a must for lovers of early romantic music and of song.
Aufbruch, Op.35 No.6
Ständchen, Op.17 No.2
Im Mai (Nun grünt der Berg), Op.11 No.3
In Blüthen, Op.43 No.6
Der Schnee ist zergangen, Op.6 No.5
Im Frühling, Op.17 No.5
Um Mitternacht, Op.16 No.6
Im Mai (Musst nicht allein im Freien), Op.22 No.5
Nun hat das Leid ein Ende, Op.18 No.3
Ach wenn ich doch ein Immchen wär’, Op.3 No.6
Aprillaunen, Op.44 No.2
Zu Spät, Op.37 No.2
Entschluss, Op.43 No.3
Die Harrende, Op.35 No.1
Mein Schatz ist auf der Wanderschaft, Op.40 No.1
Wanderlied, Op.4 No.11
Und welche Rose Blüthen triebt, Op.12 No.1
Ich lobe mir die Vögelein, Op.5 No.8
Im Sommer, Op.11 No.4
Durch säuselnde Bäume, Op.4 No.9
Lieber Schatz, sei wieder gut mir, Op.26 No.2
Ade denn, du stolze!, Op.31 No.2
Gleich wie der Mond so keusch und rein, Op.43 No.2
Dornröschen, Op.51 No.3
Nun hat mein Stecken gute Rast, Op.36 No.6
Wenn ich’s nur wüsste!, Op.26 No.1
Vom Berge, Op.9 No.5
Vergiss mein nicht!, Op.26 No.3
Da die Stunde kam, Op.7 No.3
Der junge Tag erwacht, Op.7 No.1
Gewitternacht, Op.8 No.6
Bei der Linde, Op.36 No.4
Herbstsorge, Op.4 No.10
Verlass’ mich nicht!, Op.21 No.6
Kurzes Wiedersehen, Op.4 No.8
Träume, Op.43 No.1
Ach dass du kamst, Op.4 No.12
Als ob der eine Winter bliebe
Die Liebe hat gelogen!, Op.6 No.4
Erster Verlust, Op.36 No.2
Du grüne Rast im Haine, Op.41 No.6
Treibt der Sommer seinen Rosen, Op.8 No.5
Und die Rosen, die prangen, Op.10 No.5
Schöner Mai, bist über Nacht, Op.30 No.4
Will über Nacht wohl durch das Thal, Op.5 No.4
Vergessen, Op.5 No.10
Dort unter’m Lindenbaume, Op.31 No.1
Frühe Klage, Op.22 No.4
Umsonst, Op.10 No.6
Erinnerung, Op.51 No.10
Abends, Op.20 No.4
Sonnenwende, Op.37 No.5
Recorded in The Pamaja Hall, Sevenoaks School, Kent, UK on 23rd, 25th & 26th October 2019
Steinway Concert Grand Model D, (586380)
Recording Production & Editing: Mike Purton
Recording Engineering & Mastering: Tony Faulkner
Art & Design: Hannah Whale, Fruition Creative Concepts
Total Time: 91:01
Release Date: December 2019
Harriet is studying with Yvonne Kenny at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on the prestigious Opera Course programme. She is a Samling Artist, Oxford Lieder Young Artist, and a Britten-Pears Young Artist.
An advocate of song, highlights include making her Wigmore Hall debut with Graham Johnson in a recital of Schubert Lieder, numerous recitals at the Oxford Lieder Festival alongside Caitlin Hulcup and Christopher Glynn, Adam Walker, James Ballieu and Brian O’Kane, and her Oxford Lieder Young Artist duo partner Michael Pandya. At the Ryedale Festival she collaborated in recitals with Christopher Glynn, The Phoenix Piano Trio and Adam Walker, and Ian Tindale. She has travelled to the Netherlands to give a recital at the International Lied Festival Zeist with Ian Tindale, and to Belgium for a recital at deSingel with Samuel Hasselhorn and Graham Johnson.
She was joint winner of the 2018 Oxford Lieder Young Artists Platform with Michael Pandya, won the 2017 Paul Hamburger prize for Lieder, and the Franz-Schubert-Institut competition leading to a full scholarship to study at the 2017 FSI. Harriet’s debut album, volume VIII of Graham Johnson’s Complete Brahms Lieder was released by Hyperion in September 2019.
William Searle’s promising solo career has seen him performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, alongside Graham Johnson at the Wigmore Hall, live on Danish Radio with Mogens Dahl Kammerkor and in a world premiere at Carnegie Hall. Originally from Cardiff, he currently studies with Robert Dean and Adrian Thompson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, following a Music BA at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Oratorio repertoire has included J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), St John Passion (The Gippeswyk Singers), B Minor Mass (Ipswich Chamber Choir) and Christmas Oratorio (Beccles Choral Society), Beethoven’s Choral Symphony (Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra), Britten’s St Nicolas (South Nutfield Choral Society), Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Southend Festival Chorus), Monteverdi’s Vespri della Beata Vergine (English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble), Stockhausen’s Stimmung (The Façade Ensemble), Maxwell-Davies’ Solstice of Light (Cantate) and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (LSO Discovery).
A graduate of the National Youth Theatre, William is an accomplished stage performer, with roles ranging across Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Idomeneo, Tony in West Side Story (all Up The Hill), Anatol in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (Brickhouse Theatre), Vašek in The Bartered Bride, Beppe in Pagliacci and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (all GSMD Opera Scenes).
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Marc Verter is a pianist, song accompanist and concert producer. A passionate song performer, he dedicates much of his time to performing with singers in the UK and abroad. Mr Verter was the Artistic Director for over five years at the Chelsea Schubert Festival. Alongside his performing work Mr Verter is a highly sought after vocal coach and repetiteur. Previous opera engagements have included the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Opera på Skeret programme in Sweden and the Dartington Festival in the UK. He is currently on the staff of the Vocal Department at the Guildhall School of Music, The Royal College of Music and Drama and West London University. He has performed at music festivals in Israel, North America and Europe and has played for such internationally renowned singers as Yvonne Kenny, Jonathan Lemalu, Nelly Miricioiu, Kate Royal, Sarah Walker and Chen Reiss. Through his doctoral studies Mr Verter has examined the musical settings of the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and he leads workshops with college students on the performance of French song. Mr Verter has developed and curated a salon concert series where a cast of musicians and actors recreates the glamour of 19th century Parisian musical soirees.
Sebastian Wybrew has appeared with many of the UK’s most eminent performers, including Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman and Iestyn Davies. In 2014 he made his debut at Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Ian Bostridge, and his long-standing duo with Sophie Bevan saw them make their critically acclaimed Wigmore Hall debut in 2011. Sebastian Wybrew regularly performs at prestigious festivals throughout Europe including those of Aix-en-Provence, Edinburgh, Zaragoza, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Sebastian Wybrew has received acclaim from Classical Music Magazine for his recording of Geoffrey Grey’s Partita with trumpeter Simon Cheney. He was awarded the Accompanist Prize at the 2010 John Kerr English Song Competition, and is a beneficiary of the Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust. In much demand as a pedagogue, he has been involved with the Keyboard Faculties at the Royal College of Music, the Edward Said Conservatory, the Fondation Royaumont and Musique en Côte Basque.
Victoria is an Associate of the Royal College of Music for Singing Performance and graduated in German from London University. She has devised and presented many programmes of German poetry and song, and has published a treatise on Die Winterreise, the collection of poems upon which Schubert’s Winterreise is based, called The Winter Journey of Wilhelm Müller. The songs of Robert Franz have always yielded interesting settings of German poetry, but curiosity was aroused by the frequent appearance of Osterwald among Franz’s 279 settings. With no preconceptions, the 51 songs, dispersed throughout Franz’s oeuvre, were located, studied and brought together for the first time. The decision was made by Victoria to publish her research and record the music. Victoria has been ably assisted by musicologist Iain Sneddon (Lieding Publications 2019), who has produced his own companion edition of the reprinted songs, containing translations and new findings by Victoria. In aiming for an outcome of the highest quality, all aspects of the recording project have benefited from the work of excellent artists and technicians, in optimum acoustic conditions, using a modern Steinway grand piano. Like Handel, Franz was quite indifferent to gender in performance, but it was felt variety of vocal timbre would enhance the listening experience, as would grouping the works into the four seasons with their corresponding moods or Stimmungen. The majority of these works appear to be previously unrecorded or recorded in transposed keys, which would not comply with the composer’s express wishes. All of the songs in this recording are in their original keys.