Songs by Schubert, Beethoven, Britten and Hahn

Matthew Polenzani, Julius Drake

  • Total Time: 76 minutes
  • Cat. Number: WHLIVE0048

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  • Matthew Polenzani tenor
  • Julius Drake piano

Often referred to as one of the most gifted and distinguished lyric tenors of his generation, Matthew Polenzani has been praised for the artistic versatility and fresh lyricism that he brings to concert and operatic appearances on leading international stages. He has performed, among many others, opposite Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko and Diana Damrau, and under the baton of Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez and Riccardo Muti.

In this, his debut Wigmore Hall recital, Polenzani brings together the works of Hahn, Beethoven, Britten and Schubert, including An die ferne Geliebte and the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, alongside leading piano-accompanist, Julius Drake.

Composed in April 1816, An die ferne Geliebte, opus 98, is Beethoven's only song cycle. The title translates as To the Distant Beloved, setting verse written by Aloys Jeitteles, and is considered to be the first true song cycle by a major composer. Also appearing on the release are five examples of some of Schubert’s most-loved works, composed in the great age of song – Im Frühling, Fischerweise, Der Einsame, Nachtstück and An Sylvia.

Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo explore the subject of immortal love, seen here through the music’s expressive gravity. The sonnets were an expression of Michelangelo’s love for the young Tommaso Cavalieri, and are given added poignancy as they are said to represent a thinly-veiled expression of Britten’s affection for Peter Pears. Finally, the album features Hahn’s album of songs, Venezia: Chansons en dialecte vénitien. Described by the composer as both “light and melancholy”, they received their premiere at an evening al fresco gathering in Venice in 1901.

Track Listing

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

An die ferne Geliebte Op. 98

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947)

Venezia

Trad/Irish