CPO has been at the vanguard of reviving the neglected music of Heinrich von Herzogenberg, a phenomenon that seems mostly concentrated in Germany, where the label is based. This album of 24 lieder reveals Herzogenberg's affinity for the vocal writing of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, and the uninitiated might be hard-pressed to tell the differences between these composers. Soprano Hélène Lindqvist and pianist Philipp Vogler have a firm grasp of Herzogenberg's late Romantic style and expressions, which are usually gentle, lyrical, and poetic, rather than dramatic or turbulent, and their tasteful performances keep these songs from slipping into sentimentality. Lindqvist's light, translucent voice and Vogler's easy-going accompaniment are essential to the program's cheerfulness, though the consistently sunny moods, dominance of major keys, and limited keyboard range contribute to a bland impression. Herzogenberg was certainly a capable composer who wrote effective music in many genres, and though these songs are competent settings of texts by such familiar poets as Goethe, Heine, Rückert, and Mörike, among others, there is a limited range of emotions, much narrower than one would expect of a great lieder composer. Still, Herzogenberg's music is quite appealing, and lovers of art songs will welcome this pleasant album.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Drei Gesänge, op. 108|