Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Mozart: Lieder

Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Mozart: Lieder
Mozart: Lieder
Vocal Music
Release Date:
May 30, 2006

Is there a subgroup of works among the creations of top composers that has been more neglected than Mozart's songs? They're neglected partly because they're a very mixed bag; they were mostly composed for specific purposes, and they don't develop as a group in an orderly way as do, say, the piano concertos. At any rate, any new recording of Mozart's songs is good to have -- the album title referring to "Lieder" is a bit misleading, for there are songs in French and Italian here as well as German. There are some real masterpieces among the 22 songs included here (out of about three dozen Mozart wrote). Plunge right into Abendempfindung (Evening Emotion), K. 522, for one of the finest of the group, with a flexibility of melodic line that strongly suggests Schubert -- and for an example of the unusual but persuasive approach to the songs employed here by Québec soprano Suzie LeBlanc and fortepianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin. They apparently have concluded that the obstacle to appreciating Mozart's songs is that concert-hall-sized performances overwhelm them. So the performers forcibly downsize the scale to the size of a room. LeBlanc's singing is light and quiet, with very little vibrato, and Nézet-Séguin's fortepiano is pushed way back in the balance to a point where it seems almost a spectral presence. The balance seems strange at first, but hear how well it works on an almost minimal piece like Komm, liebe Zither (Come, dear zither), K 351.

And it brings out what annotator Pierre Vachon propounds as a quasi-popular strain of the Mozart-era lied, which was intended for amateurs -- the many innocent-sounding songs like the fairly famous Das Veilchen (The Violet), K.

476, are allowed to reveal their little subtleties. The selection includes some real oddities, like the early An die Freude (To Joy), K. 53 (this is not the Schiller "Ode to Joy," which wasn't written until 1785) and the Masonic voice-and-piano cantata Die ihr des unermeßlichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt (You who honor the Creator of the immeasurable universe), K. 619. LeBlanc's singing is an ingratiating delight throughout, completely avoiding the squarish phrasing that Baroque specialists sometimes bring to Mozart. The negatives here are minor: an occasional French-accented German word from LeBlanc, an over-echoic acoustic in the St.-Augustin de Mirabel church -- an often-used venue, but one that was wrong for this intimate project. On the whole, though, this may become the definitive reading of Mozart's songs.

Abendempfindung an Laura ("Abend ist's"), song for voice & piano, K. 523Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin5:11
Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling ("Komm, lieber Mai"), song for voice & piano, K. 596Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin1:59
Im Frühlingsanfang ("Erwacht zum neuen Leben"), song for voice & piano, K. 597Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:41
Dans un bois solitaire, song for voice & piano, K. 308 (K. 295b)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:54
Oiseaux, si tous les ans, song for voice & piano, K. 307 (K. 284d)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin1:31
Das Veilchen, song for voice & piano, K. 476Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:25
Der Zauberer ("Ihr Mädchen"), song for voice & piano, K. 472Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:10
Komm, liebe Zither, komm, song for voice & mandolin (or piano), K. 351 (K. 367b )Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin1:49
An die Freude ("Freude, Königin der Weisen"), song for voice & piano, K. 53 (K. 47e)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin4:29
Das Lied der Trennung ("Die Engel Gottes weinen"), song for voice & piano, K. 519Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin5:25
Als Luise die Briefe ("Erzeugt von heisser Phantasie"), song for voice & piano, K. 520Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin1:44
Das Kinderspiel ("Wir Kinder, wir schmecken"), song for voice & piano, K. 598Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin1:31
An die Hoffnung ("Ich würd auf meinem Pfad"), song for voice & piano, K. 390 (K. 340c)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:41
An die Einsamkeit ("Sei du mein trost"), song for voice & piano, K. 391 (K. 340b)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin3:47
An Chloe ("Wenn die Lieb'"), song for voice & piano, K. 524Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:21
Die grossmütige Gelassenheit, song for voice & piano (doubtful), K. 149 (K.125d)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin0:55
Wie unglücklich bin ich nit, song for voice & piano, K. 147 (K. 125g)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin0:54
Ridente la calma, song for voice & piano, K. 152 (K. 210a) (spurious, by Myslivecek)Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin3:25
Das Traumbild ("Wo bist du, Bild"), song for voice & piano, K. 530Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:41
Die betrogene Welt ("Der reiche Tor"), song for voice & piano, K. 474Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin3:05
Gesellenreise ("Die ihr einem neuen Grad"), song for voice & piano, K. 468Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin2:40
Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, cantata for voice & piano, K. 619Suzie LeBlanc / Yannick Nézet-Séguin6:43

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