Monday, 9 November 2015

Stemme/Barenboim - Brahms, Wagner, Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Sibelius, 8 November 2015

Großer Saal, Musikverein

Brahms – Liebestreu, op.3 no.1
Botschaft, op.47 no.1
Meine Liebe ist grün, op.63 no.5
Auf dem Kirchhofe, op.105 no.4
Von ewiger Liebe, op.43 no.1

Wagner – Wesendonck-Lieder

Nadia Boulanger – Les Lilas sont en folie
Soir d’hiver
Was will die einsame Träne

Lili Boulanger – Attente
Au pied de mon lit
Si tout ceci n’est qu’un pauvre rêve

Sibelius – Törnet, op.88 no.6
I systrar, I bröder, I äsklande par, op.86 no.6
Den första kyssen, op.37 no.1
Soluppgång, op.37 no.3
Var det en dröm, op.37 no.4
Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings mote, op.37 no.5

Nina Stemme (soprano)
Daniel Barenboim (piano)

This is one of those occasions when I am essentially entering a personal diary entry rather than a review. The reason is simple enough, and is intended as no disrespect to the artists, quite the contrary: I was not well, and devoted far too much of my attention to stifling a cough to be able to write properly on the performances. It was, as one might have expected, a splendid concert. Stemme was her wonderful self: a little steely, though a good way short of Nilsson, less impeccable with her diction than I might have expected, but more than compensating by the meaning she imparted with the marriage of words and text. We heard more than a little Brünnhilde: not only in the Wesendonck-Lieder, but also on occasion in Brahms. Barenboim was at his best as a collaborative artist: responsive, in no sense domineering, but very much an equal partner. How he must know and feel the kinship with Tristan! I found the Nadia Boulanger songs pleasant, if somewhat generic: a nice reminder of Barenboim’s association with her. Lili Boulanger’s songs, on the other hand, announced the ‘real thing’ from the outset, and the performances sounded all the more committed; there was no doubting the compositional voice, post-Debussyan, to be sure, and with connections one might draw, but never to be reduced to them. (I must hear these songs again, soon!) I am no fan of Sibelius’s symphonies, but am always happy enough to hear his songs, and there was certainly much to be gained in hearing them from Stemme. She sang, I think, another as her first encore; I do not know which. The second, more surprising, was Weill’s ‘My ship has sails’ from Lady in the Dark. More later in the week, when I hope to be recovered! (Alas, a Wien Modern concert tonight had to fall by the wayside this evening.)

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