Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Matthias Goerne & Leif Ove Andsnes

I left this song recital by baritone Matthias Goerne & pianist Leif Ove Andsnes feeling that I'd heard a perfect performance. I was dismayed that there were empty seats in the auditorium. The gravely serious program consisted of songs by Mahler, drawn from Das Knaben Wunderhorn, Rückert-Lieder & Kindertotenlieder, alternating with songs by Shostakovich based on the sonnets of Michelangelo. The performers often went from one song to the next without a break, & they held the audience spellbound. I was so caught up that I didn't bother following the translations during the performance.

Mr. Goerne makes an uncannily beautiful sound that is velvety & viscous. He uses a lot of body English, as if he is squeezing or massaging the sound out, instead of actually singing. Even though he takes frequent breaths, his musical line always feels connected. He created an especially soft and still mood in "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen," & his "Revelge" was acidly macabre. Mr. Andsnes used almost no pedal, & his accompaniment was punctilious. During "Der Tambourg'sell" the page-turner reached into the piano to damp the strings, so that they imitated the hollow thumping of a drum. Mr. Adnsnes initially came out wearing a pair of black glasses, but they disappeared from his face before the end of the 1st half.

The audience was wonderfully quiet & let the silence at the end of each set linger before starting to applaud. The peformers received a standing ovation, & the audience laughed when Mr. Andsnes paused to put on his glasses before launching into the encore of Beethoven's "An die Hoffnung," which soared.

§ Matthias Goerne, baritone
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

MAHLER: Ich atmet' einen linden Duft
SHOSTAKOVICH: Morning, Op. 145, No. 2
MAHLER: Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
SHOSTAKOVICH: Separation, Op. 145, No. 4
MAHLER: Es sungen drei Engel
MAHLER: Das irdische Leben
MAHLER: Nun seh' ich wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen
MAHLER: Wenn dein Mütterlein
MAHLER: Urlicht

SHOSTAKOVICH: Night, Op. 145, No. 9
MAHLER: Ich bin de Welt abhanden gekommen
SHOSTAKOVICH: Eternity, Op. 145, No. 11
SHOSTAKOVICH: Dante, Op. 145, No. 6
MAHLER: Revelge
SHOSTAKOVICH: Death, Op. 145, No. 10
MAHLER:Der Tamboursg'sell

BEETHOVEN: An die Hoffnung, Op. 94

SF Performances
Monday, April 23, 8pm
Herbst Theatre


Shawn Ying said...

Yep! Unbelievable that there were still empty seats. It happened to Simon Keenlyside's recital also. Sometimes, it makes me wonder how can people afford to miss a perfect performance like this. I have to say, I am not looking forward to Fleming's recital @ Davies next year and I am also afraid that the hall would be packed.

Axel Feldheim said...

Song recitals are just a really hard sell. They often fit the stereotype of the stuffy, elitist classical music event all too well. I just try to be grateful that we get as many song recitals here as we do, so that every once in a while we can hear perfection like this.

Keenlyside was so amazing too, & in a very different way. As much as I admire Goerne, I could not describe him as an especially warm performer. I'm sure that Renee will pack Davies! People just like seeing her, I guess.