There are only a few singers who really have something to say in the field of song singing. That is to say, singers who not only deliver soothing singing, but who also go to the substance with their song interpretation and convey content. Christian Gerhaher is one of the few praiseworthy exceptions who succeeds in conveying song content and mood. He has already proved this frequently on the concert podium and many times on recordings. Recently he has captured the tragic plot of Schubert's song cycle Die schöne Müllerin on an album that can only be recommended to every lover of song. This recording conveys to the last note of this ingenious work by Franz Schubert a tension that is comparable to a well-made thriller. On the other hand, the incomparably divinely beautifully sung recording with Fritz Wunderlich and Hubert Giesen at the piano looks like a highly realized but harmless narrative. The Müllerin, who is usually sung by a tenor, is in good hands with Christian Gerhaher, who calls a brightly timbred baritone his own, also from the point of view of the voice. The contribution of the pianist is by no means to be underestimated for the expressiveness and success of a song interpretation. In the case of Christian Gerhaher, this is Gerold Huber's congenial work on the Müllerin as well as on Robert Schumann's new album Myrthen, who has been working with Christian Gerhaher for many years. With this team there is no question of a piano accompanist. Rather, the pianist always plays an equal role in the interpretation of the song. Gerold Huber is therefore equally responsible for the substance and the content of the songs as well as the singer's contribution. Both, singer and pianist are foreign to mannerisms, which were probably not least owed to the time at the agenda of the song singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for example. The profoundly heartfelt effect of the two artists' song design, on the other hand, is based on the conveyance of real feelings based on the content and musical form of the songs.
This approach to song interpretation is reflected in the current album Myrthen, which forms part of the planned recording of all of Robert Schumann's songs. Christian Gerhaher shares the vocal contribution to Myrthen composed for a female and a male voice with the Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling, whom he greatly appreciates. The song cycle Mythen with its 26 songs is a bridal gift from Robert Schumann to Clara Wieck, whom he was finally able to marry in 1840 after a long unpleasant legal dispute with Clara's father. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk Radio, Christian Gerhaher describes what this song cycle means to him and why he retains the given division of the songs for a female and a male singing voice: "... because of this strong, but also touching situation, biographically that here a gift is given to the bride with a kaleidoscopic propaedeutic for the whole expected, fulfilling love and life community. That is something that I find a love gift and a proof of love that is somehow almost without example."
This album, which has been very convincingly crafted by the singers and the pianist thanks to a substantial mediation of content, is a must for the serious lover of classical song.
Christian Gerhaher, baritone
Camilla Tilling, soprano
Gerold Huber, piano