JOST; SCHUMANN Dichterliebe

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Christian Jost, Robert Schumann

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Deutsche Grammophon

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 114

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 483 7046GH

483 7046. JOST; SCHUMANN Dichterliebe

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Dichterliebe Christian Jost, Composer
Christian Jost, Composer
Christian Jost, Composer
Horenstein Ensemble
Peter Lodahl, Tenor
Liederkreis Robert Schumann, Composer
Daniel Heide, Piano
Robert Schumann, Composer
Stella Doufexis, Mezzo soprano
This album represents a deeply personal project – indeed, it could hardly be any more personal. The second disc features recordings of two of Schumann’s great song-cycles sung by the mezzo-soprano Stella Doufexis; the first has Christian Jost’s reworking and rearrangement of Dichterliebe, conceived for Doufexis, his wife, before she died of cancer in 2015, aged just 47.

And Jost’s Dichterliebe is perhaps best understood in relation to Doufexis’s unusually intimate, loving account of Schumann’s original – its fleet, agile and communicative character coming across in a close recording that also gives Daniel Heide’s piano a somewhat two-dimensional character. The voice is light (don’t expect forced gravitas in ‘Im Rhein, im heiligen Ströme’), but it’s always intelligently used. She offers an initially reflective ‘Ich grolle nicht’ (which seems to inform Jost’s own take on the song), creates a beautiful sense of numbness in ‘Hör ich das Liedchen klingen’ – and I like the way she skips through ‘Aus alten Märchen winkt es’. We get similar virtues in the Op 39 Liederkreis, with a slyly seductive ‘Waldesgespräch’ and an especially dreamy ‘Mondnacht’.

But it’s Jost’s new Dichterliebe, clocking in at a little over an hour, that’s nevertheless going to prove the most intriguing prospect for many. It starts interestingly, with the Horenstein Ensemble (string quartet, flute and clarinet complemented by harp, marimba, vibraphone, piano and celesta) creating a soundscape of sighs and rustles and shivers, out of which the opening motif of Schumann’s first song begins to emerge. But when Peter Lodahl enters with Schumann’s vocal line, there’s little sense of it fitting together with Jost’s refashioned accompaniments, which – unlike Hans Zender’s for his recomposed Winterreise – too often sacrifice rhythmic character and definition to atmospheric doodlings (meandering clarinet features regularly) and wispy sul ponticello whisperings.

Jost brings added intensity on occasion. There’s a knotty sense of defiance that builds throughout much of his ‘Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome’, while the discombobulated character of ‘Hör ich das Liedchen klingen’ develops with almost nightmarish intensity and is followed by an effective and moving instrumental section based on material from the final song’s postlude. But other songs are a great deal less successful, and the vocal line’s excursions off piste are rarely rewarding, either for the listener or for an increasingly taxed Lodahl.

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