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Challenge Classics

Schumann/ Pregardien/ Gees - Dichterliebe 48

Schumann/ Pregardien/ Gees - Dichterliebe 48

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Robert Schumann was the most confessional of composers. And many of the songs from his great Liederjahr of 1840 were in essence love songs to Clara Wieck. In them he could express overtly what had been merely implicit in his piano music: his fears and longing, his passion and devotion, his pain at their separation, his vision of sexual and spiritual fulfillment, and his recurrent fears of losing her. In Dichterliebe Op. 48 he turns again to the pithy verses of Heinrich Heine's Buch der Lieder. On one level, Dichterliebe can be heard as his most piercing recreation of the fluctuating emotions he had experienced during his long courtship of Clara. During the autumn of 1857 Wagner began a set of five songs to poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, written in evident imitation of Wagner's hothouse Tristan manner- one of the very rare occasions when he set words other than his own. The Wesendonck Lieder, as they are now known, were revised and completed in 1858, and first performed as a cycle in 1862 at a country house belonging to the publisher Franz Schott.
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