Baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Daniil Trifonov explore the dark meanders of Lieder by Berg, Schumann, Wolf, Shostakovich and Brahms in recital at the Philharmonie de Paris.
Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov, both crowned with an exceptional career (one of the greatest performers of Lieder of his generation and the other, winner of prestigious competitions), come together for a recital of works around themes romanticism as well as universal: life, love and death. Chaining the pieces of the programmed cycles without any interruption, the two musicians recreate an immense suite (90 minutes) leading the public into a dark and inhabited musical tunnel.
Death haunts the evening, appearing straight away in Les Vier Lieder op.2 by Alban Berg. The music borrows chromatic lines on hovering chords evoking the sleep carrying dreams and nightmares and above all the beginnings of eternal rest: (“ Schlafen, schlafen, nichts als schlafen! » Sleep, sleep, only sleep!).
If the first Lieder of the Schumann cycle Dichterliebe (The Poet’s Loves) express the joy of love, the music remains filled with a sweet melancholy, and the progression in the cycle reveals disillusion, sorrow and death as the only escape for the abandoned lover. It was at the twilight of their lives that Hugo Wolf (just before sinking into madness) and Dmitri Shostakovich (very ill) borrowed from the sculptor poet Michelangelo his verses evoking a wish to end it in order to escape torment love and existential anxieties. The nagging ” Alles endet, was entstehet (everything that is born, ends) by Wolf reveals the painful depths of the soul, which the evocative titles, Dead Where Night by Shostakovich accentuate in a striking musical austerity. Just like his Russian counterpart, Brahms, with the Vier ernste Gesänge op.121, composed one of his last works (before dying the following year). Death is approached there through biblical texts, sometimes terrible, sometimes liberating and this cycle concludes the recital with the message filled with hope: “ Nun aber bleibet Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, diese drei; aber die Liebe ist die größeste unter ihnen. (Now these three things remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of the three is love).
The dark tone of the baritone Matthias Goerne, suitable for these death songs, is however tinged with an infinity of nuances, from “outrenoir” in the lowest notes to luminous blacks when he lightens his voice in the head register. . It’s an understatement to say that he inhabits the texts and the music, he seems to be possessed by them so much his voice and his body express the slightest inflections. He evokes the nightingale in Warm die Lüfte of Berg by a great delicacy, his clear gaze turned towards the heights, and, it is bent over his score that he seems to carry all the weight of disillusion in Shostakovich’s “Death” (“the light is extinguished, and also all audacity; the lie triumphs, and the truth no longer appears”). The climaxes of intensity carried with the body stretched out on tiptoe are impressively brave, while seeming to want to become one with the piano, he humbly leans towards the instrument with touching suavity.
Goerne paste resides in its particular way of expressing the legato vocally and physically. He bodily roots the phrases in the ground, evolving them and bringing them to their expressive climax on tiptoe. The smoothness of the phrasings also comes from his particular way of making the nasal consonants vibrate (“Imm wunnnnderchönnnnet Mmmmonnnnat Mmmai”), irresistible sweetness.
It is through his collaborations with various pianists that the art of the baritone has been enriched and deepened, and the meeting with Daniil Trifonov seems to propel him towards heights of expressiveness rarely reached in an impressive complementarity. With great freedom, the pianist combines virtuosity and refined eloquence, perpetuating the song in the developed postludes of Schumann and giving all its relief to the piano writing of Brahms. Like the singer, each note is worked on in order to find the desired coloring so that the stripped backing parts of Shostakovich’s Lieder take on a meaning as important as the voice.
The applause contained throughout the recital is released without restraint and the artists offer an encore ” Bist du bei mir » by Bach in an appeasement of a sweetness to make you cry « If you are with me, I will go with joy towards death… »
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Goerne and Trifonov, “Outrenoir” Recital at the Philharmonie de Paris – News -…
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