BEGEMANN; NORDWESTDEUTSCHE PHILHARMONIE; TAUSK
Hans Pfitzner’s fate has always felt the influence of an unlucky star. Already during his own lifetime his difficult and contrary character kept him from enjoying the blissful existence of an artist’s life dedicated solely to creative production. In contrast, his perennial antipode Richard Strauss – what a lucky fellow he was! And the posthumous fame of these two principal representatives of German late romanticism has continued to be marked by what seems to be an immutable double standard. The circumstances of the times led to the integration of both composers into the National Socialist cultural system and their involvement in it in similar ways (even though Pfitzner’s more political character and theoretical commitment brought him a heavier burden of guilt). Strauss has long been forgiven it all, but the Nazi card is raised as a reflex response every time a note of Pfitzner’s music is heard. And so it is that we have to continue to fight on Pfitzner’s behalf! Voilà: our recording of his complete orchestral songs for baritone (most of them world-premiere recordings!) ranges over the entire expanse of Pfitzner’s expressive universe in what is an incredibly suspenseful seventy minutes: from the subtle and wry humor of the Cologne ballad of »The brownies« through the operatically dramatic settings of »The Trumpeter« and »Sir Oluf« to the mystic whispering of the sound worlds in Goethe’s »To the moon« and Eichendorff’s »At night.« Hans Christoph Begemann as their interpreter – now that is a stroke of luck!