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Franz Schubert: Das Wandern – Der Lindenbaum – Die Forelle – Gretchen am Spinnrade – Seligkeit – Wiegenlied – Erlkönig – Ständchen – Heidenröslein
Robert Schumann: Widmung
Franz Liszt: Es muss ein Wunderbares sein
Johannes Brahms: Wiegenlied – Vergebliches Ständchen – Sandmännchen – Nachtgesang – Och Moder, ich well en Ding han – Da unten im Tale – Mein Mädel hat ein Rosenmund
Hugo Wolf: Gebet
Richard Strauss: Zueeignung
Gustav Mahler:Selbstgefühl – Rheinlegendchen – Aus! Aus!

Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzosoprano), Robert Lehrbaumer (piano)
Recorded at Casino Baumgarten, Vienna (October 2011) – 58’05
Preiser Records PR90809 – Booklet in German and English with brief program notes

Austrian mezzosoprano Angelika Kirchschlager’s latest CD “Liederreise” certainly doesn’t win accolades for discovering long forgotten songs. It contains only the most popular songs of the romantic era from Schubert to Mahler. Yet, this CD is fascinating in its uniqueness.

Angelika Kirchschlager, accompanied by her pianist Robert Lehrbaumer, took an entire month off her busy schedule this summer to travel through her native Austria. In her luggage, she carried art songs that have their roots deep in the German/Austrian folk tradition, to some of the most remote places in Austria. Instead of well-known concert venues in Salzburg and Vienna, Kirchschlager chose to perform at places like Radenthein, Schlanders and Schlüsslberg. Only the final concert of this tour took place at Vienna’s famous concert hall, the Konzerthaus. Here however, Kirchschlager insisted that tickets be made available to demographic groups, unfamiliar with classical music. The demand for tickets was so overwhelming that the recital will have to be repeated this December at the Vienna Konzerthaus.

This entire “Liederreise” (song tour) through Austria was conceived other than as a regular concert tour. Kirchschlager and Lehrbaumer, both forfeiting their fees, aimed at building bridges to audiences that normally would not come to a song recital. Kirchschlager included village committees in the planning and chose unusual settings for her concerts: all she and her accompanist needed was a piano, more or less in tune.

Angelika Kirchschlager told me that she, as an artist as well as a person, derived new strength and inspiration from connecting to completely new audiences. The most touching moment, she mentioned, was when at a tiny village an autistic young man came up to her. He took her to the hayloft where he sang her two songs he had composed himself on texts by Joseph von Eichendorff. This episode proved that classical music, presented the right way, is still relevant and very much alive today.

To coincide with this song tour, Angelika Kirchschlager released her latest CD, fittingly called “Liederreise”. She chose songs by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler for this CD. All the songs have their origin in German and Austrian folk music or indeed have become part of the folk music tradition.

Kirchschlager refreshingly does away with the overly intellectual approach to German song that has been rampant in recent years. Instead, she sings in a natural, authentic style – the way folk songs ought to be sung. Particularly touching are the Brahms songs, which suit Kirchschlager’s warm and dark mezzo best. Robert Lehrbaumer is an excellent and reliable piano partner.

Kirchschlager’s “Liederreise” is your quintessential German Lied CD – a must have!

Wiebke Kuester




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