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Liszt: The Complete Songs Vol. 1

Notes & Reviews:

The start of another Hyperion Lieder series is always cause for celebration. In advance of his bicentenary in 2011, the label turns to a composer whose songs were considered insignifi cant for well over a century. A regular collaborator with some of Europe’s best singers, Liszt used song as a compositional laboratory in which to experiment with ‘Zukunftsmusik,’ or ‘music of the future.’ A cosmopolitan artist who traveled prodigiously, he chose song texts written both by great poets and amateurs, the latter often aristocrats from Liszt’s glittering social circles. He created songs that changed the very definition of the genre, that are a bridge to such later masters as Wolf and Strauss. This first volume in the series features the American tenor Matthew Polenzani who has been astounding Met opera audiences in recent years. He is accompanied by the curator of the series, Julius Drake.

"The challenges are more than met here, with Polenzani doing things in songs such as Der Fischerknabe or Pace Non Trovo that you never thought were possible for a human voice, while Drake's intensity is total and unswerving." -The Guardian *****

"Polenzani is evidently a tenor of the finest quality: a lyric voice, sweet and ingratiating, with the capacity to ring out excitingly, gloriously easy on high but with a perfectly adequate body to the tone in its middle and lower registers...He sings with warmth, intelligence and conviction...And the songs themselves give amazingly consistent satisfaction." -Gramophone Magazine

"The start of a major cycle of Liszt's "orphaned" songs - the composer's own description of a neglected but substantial part of his output, full of characteristic rhapsody and poetry." -The Observer


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