Myrthen - Christian Gerhaher
Label: SONY CLASSICAL
Baritone - Christian Gerhaher Soprano - Camilla Tilling Piano - Gerold Huber
With Myrthen, baritone Christian Gerhaher opens Chapter 2 of his life project: a complete recording of the lieder of Robert Schumann. Since Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's epoch-making recording of the 1970s, no singer has devoted himself more thoroughly to the lied output of Robert Schumann than Christian Gerhaher. Lauded as the greatest lied singer of our time, he launched his complete recording of Schumann's lieder with the album Frage, released in autumn 2018. It marks the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream and, he emphasises, "probably the most important project of my life". The Neue Zurcher Zeitung spoke of "consummate vocal artistry. Gerhaher has opened a new door in lied interpretation". The Guardian named it one of the year's best new classical releases. As always, Gerhaher is accompanied by the equally brilliant pianist Gerold Huber. Most of the lieder he will sing himself, but for the other parts, duets and ensembles he has invited singers from his intimate circle of friends who number among the best in their vocal category, including Camilla Tilling, Julia Kleiter, Sibylla Rubens, Wiebke Lehmkuhl and Martin Mitterrutzner. The complete project will encompass ten albums. Besides Sony Classical, he has managed to gain two of his longstanding partners as co-producers in this lavish undertaking: Bavarian Radio and the Heidelberg Spring Festival's International Song Centre, whose goal is to make artists, concert organizers and audiences alive to the relevance of art song today. Both partners will lend media support to the project. In the second instalment Gerhaher, Hubert and the Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling will devote themselves to the song cycle Myrthen (Myrtles). It was composed in 1840, Schumann's "year of song", when most of his works for voice and piano originated. Conceived as a wedding present for his fiancee Clara Wieck, Myrthen contains settings of words by nine different poets. As Gerhaher stresses in his notes for the recording, the poems are tightly interrelated in their contents. The sequence Schumann selected creates "not just a picture-book", Gerhaher writes, "but an anticipatory narrative of the path longed for and awaited by two lovers", producing "one of the loveliest presents ever bestowed by a loving heart upon another."