Amarcord / Leipziger Streichquartett

Das Lieben bringt groß Freud!

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This release from the audiophile German label MDG qualifies as unusual and even esoteric in the present day, but for a German community in the late 19th century, or even an American city with a moderate German community, it would have been common enough: string quartets and male vocal quartets were both common forms of musical recreation. The attraction of this album, beyond the performances by members of the superb male a cappella group Amarcord, is the variety. First is the alternation between vocal and string quartet arrangements of folk songs, rare or unique in releases of this kind. The program covers only three of the composers who wrote this kind of material, but together they suggest the importance of folk songs in German musical life of the 19th century. The earliest composer of the group is Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860), who saw the musical potential in the new attraction felt on the part of Romantic poets, in Germany and beyond, toward folk culture. His simple four-part settings gave rise not only to the rest of the music on the album, but to the vocal-group performances of songs like Ach, du lieber Augustin that can be heard at any German festival today. At the other end of the chronology is Max Reger, whose folk song settings aren't as chromatic as his chamber music but are recognizably the product of the same composer and provide some of the rare light moments in his output. Sample the album's title track, Das Lieben bringt groß' Freud (track 15), for the flavor of this album's unique delights. The third composer, Moritz Kässmeyer, is, like Silcher, little known; a Viennese violinist, he wrote these arrangements as entertaining interludes, which they remain today. This album is a nice find both for students of Romantic-era culture and for those who enjoy top-notch a cappella vocals.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:01
2 2:32
Neun ausgewählte Volkslieder
3 3:22
4 3:30
5 3:36
Neun ausgewählte Volkslieder
6 3:50
Fünf ausgewählte Volkslieder
7 2:01
8 3:06
Neun ausgewählte Volkslieder
9 1:28
10 2:06
11 2:53
12 2:09
13 3:03
14 3:32
Neun ausgewählte Volkslieder
15 2:09
16 2:49
Fünf ausgewählte Volkslieder
17 2:27
18 3:11
19 2:50
20 1:37
blue highlight denotes track pick