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Wolf: Italienisches Liederbuch

Wolf: Italienisches Liederbuch

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“Even little things can delight us, Even little things can be precious.” The first words of the first song in Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch are both manifesto and Credo. Wolf (1860 – 1903) felt keenly the sting of being labelled a Lieder-Komponist (song composer). He could recognize when composing his songs that “what I write now, I write for posterity too.” A passionate advocate of Wagner’s music, he brought to song the tonal innovations of the world post-Bayreuth: “Wölferl’s own howl,” he dubbed his unique style. Wolf’s textual source for his songbook was the Italienisches Liederbuch, published in Berlin in 1860 and containing translations by Paul Heyse (1830 – 1914) of Italian folk poetry. He wrote the compositions during three working phases: Part I with 22 songs in autumn 1890 and in late 1891, Part II with 24 songs in spring 1896.

Throughout the 46 pieces, we hear a man and a woman trace the chronicle of a love-affair, from initial ardor to rupture and ending. An encyclopedic panoply of the moods and faces of love ensues, complete with quarrels, mockery, nocturnal serenades, distress, masochism, suffering, rage, and finally, a parting of the ways. Wolf had a genius for the piano accompaniment regarding sensibility for the text and colorful, even illustrative composing: commenting, caricaturing, sometimes warm-hearted, sometimes quipping and full of humor. Pianist Frank-Immo Zichner uses this as multi-layered basis for Mirella Hagen and Tobias Berndt who vividly play their parts.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Querstand
    • UPC/Barcode: 4025796021110
    • Item Number: VKJK 2111