Bei dir allein! (Schubert Songs) - Tilling / Rivinius

Bei dir allein! (Schubert Songs) - Tilling / Rivinius


Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

Franz Schubert: 14 Songs

Camilla Tilling (soprano)
Paul Rivinius (piano)

The momentous importance of Franz Schubert for the Lied genre has been compared to that of Shakespeare for the theatre – the same kind of instinctive and inexplicable genius, appearing without forewarning, unparalleled in its own era and never surpassed by later exponents.

At the age of 17 he composed Gretchen am Spinnrade, often described as a milestone in the history of vocal music, and the more than 600 songs that followed it form an entire universe of emotions, atmospheres and moods – from the touching, utterly convincing portrayals of the joy and despair of young love in Bei dir allein! and Lied des Florio, to the almost Gothic drama of Der Zwerg and the utter despondency of Totengräbers Heimweh.

This programme also includes some of Schubert's best-known songs, such as the carefree An Silvia, the serene Litanei, and the first Suleika song, regarded by Johannes Brahms as the most beautiful of all Lieder.

Besides having a highly successful career in opera, the Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling has made a name for herself in concert and recital, and her previous recording for BIS – the Strauss recital Rote Rosen – was highly regarded on its release in 2010: 'The luminous and lyrical soprano of Camilla Tilling, which keeps its beautiful bloom even in the top register, is a pure joy for the ear' wrote the critic in Fono Forum, while his colleague in International Record Review praised her 'rounded golden tone' and her 'ability to float a vocal line that seems to hang effortlessly on the air demanding that time itself should stop.’ As on that disc, she is supported by the eminent pianist and chamber musician Paul Rivinius.

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Reviews (1)

Review by John Miller - April 21, 2012

A first disc of Schubert lieder is a milestone in the career of any soprano. Camilla Tilling and Paul Rivinius formed an excellent Lieder partnership in their Richard Strauss programme (Rote Rosen: Songs of Richard Strauss - Tilling, Rivinius), so expectations are high. Evidently the dramatic experiences of her burgeoning international opera career and the fruits of many live lieder recitals have honed Camilla Tilling's Lieder skills, for here she goes beyond her Strauss disc to show she can colour her voice and dig deep for the emotions in Schubert's finely-wrought songs.

Her programme too is not just a procession of pretty, well-known tunes, but an intelligent selection which explores the subtle nuances of Schubert's setting of often mediocre poetry, ennobling the verses for posterity. The theme of this carefully planned programme is, of course, Love. But Schubert's poets were keen to explore Love in its several aspects; longing and desire, requited and unrequited. Death and its relationship to Love is also another preoccupation of the composer, and this too is explored in Camilla Tilling's selection. Tilling and Rivinius range widely in Schubert's collection of solo songs, often pairing those from disparate periods, so as to compare or contrast their subjects. There are examples of all Schubert's song structures - strophic, through-composed and even a short ballad.

The titular song, 'With you alone!' (a rapturous portrait of an impulsive maiden's desire to be alone with the beloved) is given appropriately Tilling's shining, light spinto voice. The next piece, 'Delphine's Song' features a similarly love-lorn girl, but such is her devotion of the object of her desire that her thoughts turn towards the thought of her death should the love or lover be lost. Tilling and Rivinius darken their expression most sensitively, and Tilling pings an ecstatic high note just before the end with perfect effect. The great Suleika songs are also given loving care. It is immediately obvious from Tilling's first bar that this is a serious song; repeated, restless circling piano figures depict the cool, unsettling nature of the East wind. It is asked, is there news of the distant beloved borne upon it? Suleika II is dominated by the West wind, mild and gentle, and the maiden asks the wind to send a message to her lover - all underpinned with a happy trotting piano accompaniment. For this song, Tilling uses tone with a soft lyrical warmth which is most appropriate.

Another example of Tilling's use of vocal colour is 'The Dwarf;' a balladic narrative in which a Queen who jilted a dwarf is captured by him and taken away to her death, leaving the dwarf to rove the world aimlessly. Tilling gives a spine-tingling portrayal of the smitten dwarf's voice as he casts the Queen into the sea, while Rivinius provides a vivid and inventively played picaresque accompaniment. The 'Grave-digger's Homesickness' offers another dramatic performance, with Tilling deploying her chest voice, stern and unyielding. Rivinius does the energetic digging, with big, deep semi-staccato spade chords.

At the centre of the track-list is 'Gretchen at the spinning wheel', Schubert's first masterpiece of astounding maturity at his tender age of 17. Immediately we feel the Faustian tension of Gretchen's plight from both singer and pianist, as she sits spinning, heart-sick and afraid. The climax, as Gretchen recalls the kiss of her beloved, is powerfully done in a very vivid performance.

There are many such felicities in this album, one of which is the atmospheric recording in the singer-friendly acoustic of Potton Hall, Suffolk, a well-known recording venue. The BIS 88.2kHz/24bit capture has a very wide dynamic range and great clarity. Presentation is exemplary as usual for BIS, with the texts in German and English, plus a thought-provoking and informative essay on the music by Horst A. Scholz.

A striking first Schubert disc then, with fine performances from partners Tilling and Rivinius. Highly collectable!

Copyright © 2012 John Miller and


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