My Christmas Diana Damrau
Label: Warner Classics
Artist: Diana Damrau
Composer: Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)
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- Friedrich Silcher (1789 - 1860), George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759), Traditional:
- 1Silcher, Handel: Weihnachtszeit (Medley): Tochter Zion / Alle Jahre wieder / Es ist ein Ros entsprungen04:57
- Paul Burkhard (1911 - 1977):
- 2Burkhard: Weihnacht’ muß leise sein03:52
- 3Traditional: Leise rieselt der Schnee02:51
- Engelbert Humperdinck (1854 - 1921):
- 4Humperdinck: Weihnachten03:13
- Henri Martinet (1909 - 1985), Pietro Yon (1886 - 1943), Traditional:
- 5Martinet, Yon: Adeste fideles (Medley): Adeste fideles / Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle / Petit Papa Noël / Il est né le divin enfant / Gesù bambino05:04
- Max Reger (1873 - 1916):
- 6Reger: Mariä Wiegenlied02:30
- 7Traditional: Süßer die Glocken nie klingen04:31
- Franz Grothe (1908 - 1982):
- 8Grothe: Kalenderlied03:29
- 9Traditional: Warten aufs Christkind (Medley): Leise rieselt der Schnee / Fröhliche Weihnacht überall! / Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling! / Morgen, Kinder, wird’s was geben / O Tannenbaum06:37
- Max Reger:
- 10Reger: Schlaf wohl, du Himmelsknabe du03:15
- René Kollo (b. 1937):
- 11Kollo: Weihnachtsfriede03:50
- Peter Cornelius (1824 - 1874):
- 12Cornelius: Die Hirten03:07
- 13Traditional: Angels and Shepherds (Medley): The First Nowell / Engel auf den Feldern singen / Tu scendi dalle stelle / Birjina gaztetto bat zegoen / In dulci jubilo03:47
- Franz Xaver Gruber (1787 - 1863):
- 14Gruber: Stille Nacht05:49
- Robert Stolz (1880 - 1975):
- 15Stolz: Christrose04:38
- 16Traditional: O du fröhliche03:26
- Martin Luther (1483 - 1546), Traditional:
- 17Luther: Heilig Abend (Medley): Still, still, still / Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her / Kommet, ihr Hirten / Zu Bethlehem geboren06:39
- 18Traditional: Bells00:17
- Franz Xaver Gruber:
- 19Gruber: Silent Night / Noche de paz / Douce Nuit / Stille Nacht04:29
- 20Traditional: Joy to the World! (Arr. Bucher)01:59
- George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759):
- 21Handel: Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, HWV 74: No. 1, Air. "Eternal Source of Light Divine"03:26
- 22Handel: Samson, HWV 57, Act 3: No. 86, Air. "Let the Bright Seraphim"05:53
- George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791):
- 23Handel, Mozart: Der Messias, K. 572, Pt. 1: No. 13, Aria. "Erwach, frohlocke, o Tochter von Zion" (After Handel's Messiah, HWV 56)04:23
- 24Handel, Mozart: Der Messias, K. 572, Pt. 1: No. 14, Aria. "Er weidet seine Herde" (After Handel's Messiah, HWV 56)04:46
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750):
- 25J.S.Bach: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51: No. 1, Aria. "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!"04:16
- 26J.S.Bach: Weihnachtsoratorium, BWV 248, Pt. 4: No. 39, Aria. "Flößt, mein Heiland, flößt dein Namen"05:03
- 27J.S.Bach: Was mir behagt, BWV 208 "Jagdkantate": No. 9, Aria. "Schafe können sicher weiden"03:25
- Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679 - 1745):
- 28Zelenka: Laudate pueri: I. Laudate pueri03:31
- 29Zelenka: Laudate pueri: II. Quis sicut Dominus03:26
- 30Zelenka: Laudate pueri: III. Amen02:00
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791):
- 31Mozart: Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339: V. Laudate Dominum04:17
- 32Mozart: Vesperae de Dominica, K. 321: V. Laudate Dominum05:10
- 33Mozart: Mass in C Minor, K. 427 "Great Mass": Laudamus te05:07
- César Franck (1822 - 1890):
- 34Franck: Messe à trois voix, Op. 12, FWV 61: Panis angelicus03:53
- Adolphe Adam (1803 - 1856):
- 35Adam: O heil’ge Nacht04:25
Info for My Christmas
“My wish on this double album is to share and celebrate with you my own very personal Christmas, as I experienced it as a child. For me, as well as being the festival of love, Christmas also means magic, balm for the soul and a host of enchanting memories. Every year we celebrate this miraculous time once again with our families and children, pausing to reflect upon the original Christmas.
As a little girl, during the Christmas season I often used to sit on the window ledge, which was heated from below, cushions all around me and with a few Christmas cookies to nibble on. I would gaze out at the dancing snowflakes while listening to recordings of Christmas stories, poems and carols. All my childhood memories and my favourite carols – from the joyful ones such as Fröhliche Weihnacht (“Merry Christmas”) and Morgen Kinder wird’s was geben (“Tomorrow, children, we’re getting something”) to the gentler ones like Leise rieselt der Schnee (“Snow softly falling”) – I’ve included on this album. The sense of peace and contemplativeness that I used to feel then has shaped me to this day. And it is my sincere wish, particularly in these troubled times of ours, that this sense of inner peace flows into the hearts of all of us and the Christmas message is implanted there.
For me, Christmas is a hugely important festival, imbued with a sense of beatitude, something that is also manifested very strongly in music. And this is the inspiration behind this double album, which I have divided into a Christmas blessed and a Christmas festive.
My wonderful colleague and fantastic arranger, Richard Whilds from the Bavarian State Opera, has arranged and orchestrated the ‘blessed’ songs for me, also grouping them by theme. The result is a varied mix of art songs, traditional carols and medleys, with a children’s choir and me as solo vocalist – although very much for singing along to. It was especially important for me that this first album was infused with the spirit of Christmas as well as a sense of simplicity. Large orchestra, smaller ensembles and the inclusion of solo instruments are all part of Richard’s overall conception, by means of which he achieves a wonderful range of colours.
You can perhaps imagine how Süßer die Glocken nie klingen (“Bells never sound sweeter”) takes me back to Christmas Eve and how, with a sense of excitement, I used to wait until the little bell finally rang and we gathered at the not-yet-open door to the living room where my mother, assisted by the angels (of this we were convinced as children), had been decorating the tree. Once I sneaked a peek through the keyhole and was sure I had seen a silver-haired angel in a red dress. It was magical. My mother would then put on an LP, which had church bells playing on it, and open the door. From out of the darkened living room we would be greeted by the candlelight emanating from the Christmas tree; the air was filled with the scent of mandarins and Christmas cookies and everyone was given a sparkler to hold. After the bells chimed, we all sang Silent Night, Holy Night – Grandma, Grandpa, the whole lot of us, large and small – and wished each other a happy and joyful Christmas.
Only then did things proceed gently to the unwrapping of presents and the exchange of thanks and good wishes, after which we sat down together for our meal. The rest of the evening was celebrated with Christmas carols in the background.
Silent Night, probably the most internationally known of all Christmas carols, is given special prominence on this recording. Anyone who’s seen the film Das ewige Lied with Tobias Moretti will know how this wonderful carol came about. We’ve made two arrangements of it for this album: an ‘international’ version, in the carol’s original guise, and the other incorporating the church bells as in my Christmas Eves back home – something for you either to relive or to try out with your family.
After the celebrations at home, I used to go with my family to the ‘Christmette’ or Midnight Mass – the grand finale of Christmas Eve and the culmination of the Christmas festivities. I have always loved church music and that sense of eternity or, you might say, the sense of Heaven on earth that it imparts. In church, Heaven really is all around us. A musical expression of jubilation is what I wanted to convey on the second CD, with an adult choir, large orchestra and the (heavenly!) trumpet playing of Matthias Höfs, and featuring baroque and classical works ranging from George Frideric Handel and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Adolphe Adam. Also featured is a real rarity, Laudate pueri Dominum for soprano and solo trumpet by the Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, which I chanced upon and is an absolute gem.
Christmas without music is and always has been unthinkable for me. A celebration of giving and gratitude, it touches our hearts and fills us with love. Besides that, it’s a celebration of hope and faith, sentiments that we pass on to our children to enrich and fortify them – an important tool, in short, to help us recognise the essential and truly important things in life.
Beauty, harmony, truthfulness and balance are essential for our sense of equilibrium and to muster the strength to adjust to our lives in a rapidly changing world. For me, art resides in simplicity – the greatest things are the simplest. And Christmas shows us this too: the naked new-born babe in the manger, the king and saviour of the world. I wish you much joy listening to this album and I hope it affords you a glimpse of my ideal Christmas.
Diana Damrau, soprano
Matthias Höfs, trumpet
Wolfgang Zerer, organ, harpsichord
Raphael Alpermann, organ, harpsichord
Riccardo Minasi, conductor
Richard Whilds, conductor
Acclaimed as the “leading coloratura soprano in the world” (New York Sun), Diana Damrau continues to amaze audiences with her unique voice and arresting stage presence. A regular guest at the most renowned opera companies and concert halls, she was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and named “Best Female Singer” at the 2014International Opera Awards.
The 2014/15 season sees Diana Damrau performing a broad range of repertoire both on the operatic and concert stages of the world. She begins the season at Theater an der Wien where she stars in a new production of Bizet’s Les pecheurs des perles, followed by her return to the Bayerische Staatsoper for a new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, a role she reprises for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala later in the season (and recorded in Munich for Erato). She sings Massenet’s Manon at the Metropolitan Opera and, Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore for Zurich Opera before returning to Baden-Baden’s Festspielhaus to debut Contessa Almaviva in concert performances of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Diana Damrau can be heard in concert and recital extensively this season. She sings Belcanto-themed gala concerts amongst other in Prague, Amsterdam, Baden-Baden, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt and Vienna and appears in recital in Vienna, Milan, Madrid, Paris and Graz. Diana Damrau further joins the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra for their New Year’s concerts and appears in concert with the Vienna Philharmonic during the Salzburg Mozart Week as well as at New York’s Carnegie Hall for a performance of Brahms’ Requiem.
Over the last seasons, Diana Damrau has extended her repertoire to include some new signature roles such as Philine (Mignon) and Elvira (I puritani) with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Linda di Chamounix with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and Lucia di Lammermoor and Amina in La sonnambula for the Metropolitan Opera In 2011, the soprano scored a tremendous success with her rendition of the three soprano roles in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Bavarian State Opera. In 2013, she sang Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera New York, where she also made her acclaimed role debut as Verdi’s La traviata, a role that she also performed in a season-opening new production at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, a new production for Opéra de Paris, as well as performances with the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Zurich Opera.
As a member of the ensembles at Mannheim National Theatre and Frankfurt Opera, Diana Damrau began her international career with much-praised guest appearances as Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta and Adele (Die Fledermaus) in Munich, Berlin and Vienna. Free-lancing since 2002, she took on the female lead in the world premiere of Cerha’s Der Riese vom Steinfeld at Vienna State Opera and was hailed by the critics for her UK debut as Queen of the Night (2003), as well as her spectacular rendition of the title role in Salieri’s L’Europa riconosciuta at the re-opening of Milan’s La Scala (2004). Other noteworthy engagements include Gym Instructress/Drunken Woman in the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s 1984 at Covent Garden, Susanna at La Scala, Konstanze at Vienna’s Burgtheater, Zerbinetta at Teatro Real Madrid, Gilda at Semperoper Dresden, Gretel at Covent Garden, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) at Baden-Baden Festival Hall, and her role debuts as Marie (La fille du régiment, San Francisco), Donna Anna (Geneva), Massenet’s Manon (Vienna), Aminta (Munich), and the world premiere of A Harlot’s Progress at Theater an der Wien.
An audience favourite at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Diana has returned to New York every year since 2005, tackling Zerbinetta, Rosina, Aithra, Konstanze, Gilda, Lucia, Marie, Adèle (Le comte Ory) and Adina, and causing a sensation by singing both her first Pamina and her last Queen of the Night in a 2007 run of Die Zauberflöte. In Europe, she has close ties with the Salzburg Festival, where her 2001 debut was followed by appearances as Queen of the Night, Blonde, Konstanze, Fauno, Susanna, and a solo recital in 2014. Diana Damrau works regularly with an illustrious list of conductors includes Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis, Ivor Bolton, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, Fabio Luisi, Jérémie Rhorer, Dan Ettinger and Christian Thielemann.
In addition to her achievements in opera, Diana has established herself as one of today’s finest lieder singers and gives recitals with pianists like Helmut Deutsch, Julius Drake and Matthias Lademann at renowned venues including Berlin’s Philharmonie, Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg Festival and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Her extraordinary musical partnership with harpist Xavier de Maistre is documented in the form of a CD release (Nuit d’étoiles) and a DVD released in 2013.
Recording exclusively for EMI/Virgin Classics, now Erato, Diana Damrau made her recording debut with Arie di Bravura which received enthusiastic reviews and prestigious awards. Subsequent solo projects include recordings of Mozart arias (Donna), coloratura pieces of the romantic period (COLORaturaS), orchestral songs by Richard Strauss (Poesie, awarded with the ECHO Klassik in 2011) and songs by Franz Liszt. Diana Damrau’s discography is rounded off by various opera, concert and recital recordings on different labels. TV broadcasts, most notably from the opening gala of the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Munich, have made her well-known to the general public. In autumn 2013, her album Forever with melodies from operetta, film and musical was released and awarded with an ECHO Klassik in 2014. 2015 sees the release of a Belcanto-themed recording.A documentary on her life, directed by Beatrix Conrad and entitled Diana Damrau – Divine Diva, was first aired on the French-German TV channel arte in February 2011.
A native of Günzburg an der Donau/Germany, Diana Damrau studied voice with Carmen Hanganu at Wurzburg Conservatory and with Hanna Ludwig in Salzburg. She made her professional operatic debut at Würzburg’s Mainfrankentheater in 1995.