Miriam Alexandra / Peter Gijsbertsen / Jozef De Beenhouwer

Clara Schumann: Complete Songs

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AllMusic Review by

Despite the new attention given to the music of Clara Schumann, and the fact that her husband not only encouraged but actually goaded her as a song composer, Clara Schumann's lieder remain underrepresented on recordings. This release from the German audiophile label MDG, featuring one female and one male singer, is one of the few complete sets of her songs available, and perhaps the only one where each song is sung in its original key. The complete cycle is a recommended way to hear her songs, for they come from various parts of her career and offer insights into her creative development, both as tied to Robert Schumann and as separate from him. Indeed, MDG's graphics correctly designate her as Clara Wieck for the four songs preceding her marriage to Robert, and these pieces are fascinating: imperfect, perhaps, but ambitious youthful works. Sample Der Wanderer, given its full impact by tenor Peter Gijsbertsen. Other highlights include Schumann's setting of Goethe's Das Veilchen (also set by Mozart), which ends the program on a lighthearted note, and O Thou My Star, an English translation of the German Mein Stern made for an English charity event. Sample one of the songs featuring soprano Miriam Alexandra; her reedy, largely vibrato-free voice will not be to all tastes. MDG, working in the auditorium of a German monastery, delivers superb sound, but some will be annoyed to find that the song texts, mostly unfamiliar poetry, remain untranslated.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Drei Lieder Op. 12
1 02:32
2 02:03
3 02:02
Sechs Lieder Op. 13 (erschienen 1844)
4 02:10
5 01:44
6 02:25
7 01:56
8 01:59
9 03:17
Sechs Lieder Op. 23 aus 'Jucunde' (1853, erschienen 1856)
10 01:40
11 02:53
12 03:09
13 01:55
14 01:11
15 02:13
16 03:23
17 02:30
18 02:11
19 02:47
20 02:32
21 02:39
22 02:41
23 02:03
24 01:59
25 02:19
26 02:01
27 01:53
28 02:05
29 04:16
30 01:50
blue highlight denotes track pick