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Cupido: Love Songs by Haydm, Giuliani and the Wiener Lied Collection - Miesenberger, Traxler, Haimel

Cupido: Love Songs by Haydm, Giuliani and the Wiener Lied Collection - Miesenberger, Traxler, Haimel

Challenge Classics  CC 72936

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal


Love Songs by Haydm, Giuliani and the Wiener Lied Collection

Markus Miesenberger (tenor)
Erich Traxler (fortepiano)
Christian Haimel (guitar)


The idea for this recording originated from a direct comparison of the two songs “Cupido” and “Kupido” by the famous composer Joseph Haydn and the lesser-known Viennese composer Johann Holzer. Although both masters use the same text, the musical settings differ considerably in both nature and form. While Haydn’s tunes present the content with a twinkle in the eye and a great deal of subtlety, Holzer’s piece invites the listener to dance along, sparkling with joie de vivre and musicality.

Joseph Haydn’s songs encompass a wide musical range and are of invaluable significance for the development of the genre: they represent a crucial part in the advancement of the Viennese lied, leading up to Franz Schubert.

Around the same time, between 1778 and 1791, a song collection of the highest quality was produced in Vienna, the importance of which has been completely forgotten over the centuries. Josef Anton Steffan, Johann Holzer, Carl Friberth, Leopold Kozeluch, Martin Ruprecht and Franz Anton Hoffmeister were only some of the many highly creative composers based in the Austrian imperial city. These composers prepared the ground for the accomplished art songs of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

As with many Viennese characteristics, a wide variety of stylistic devices are intermingled: folk-like elements, characteristics of the Singspielied and the North German lied are formed into a completely new musical genre with the additional influence of the Italian aria.

The connection to the nineteenth century is made by French songs, first issued in Vienna in 1810 by the Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani. For this project, a historical string instrument was chosen to provide an even greater sense of intimacy.

Erich Traxler played on a historic 1815 Innsbruck fortepiano by Johann Georg Gröber, and Christian Haimel played a gut-strung guitar of around 1850, inspired by Johann Anton Stauffer and built by an anonymous maker.

All these special features are intended to breathe new life into the romantic songs about love, passion, tenderness, affection, loss, fidelity and infidelity, providing a genuine, unadulterated and natural character. They enchant and seduce us into an old Vienna full of longing, devotion, charm, wit and a musical zest for life!

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - February 28, 2023

What is ‘classical music’? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is “music that is considered to be part of a long, formal tradition and to have lasting value”. It opens up more questions than it gives answers. What is ‘long’, ‘formal tradition’ and what is ‘lasting value’? In the days of Haydn, there was no clear difference between music for entertainment and the concert hall. This new release by Challenge Classics is a case in point. This is sheer entertainment. “Love Songs by Haydn, Giuliani and the Wiener Lied Collection”, no doubt sung in Vienna taverns.

In our time, however, it would and could be listed under classical music. And not without reason. Markus Miesenberger’s liner notes give us a clearer view of what this release is all about, including why the Italian Mauro Giuliani figures on the programme. The songs of love recorded here, notably but not exclusively those of Joseph Haydn, “are of invaluable significance for the development of the genre ..”. And Miesenberger continues: “These composers prepared the ground for the accomplished art songs of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert”. And he is right. In contrast to what we might have thought, this album is a valuable contribution to the development of the Romantic Lied.

A (perhaps too) long introduction for something I’ve enormously enjoyed listening to and which, also on the grounds mentioned in the previous paragraph, I’m keen to share here with like-minded music lovers. These early songs, which are still close to folk songs are a surprisingly fine collection of wit and charm, mixed with other ‘facts of life’ like envy, and melancholy, but always expressed with an implicit smile. It is a pity though that for non-German and non-French (Giuliani) speakers no texts, and/or English translations are included in the booklet. No doubt to keep the cost within reasonable limits. However, some or perhaps all (I did not try) can be retrieved from the internet (https://lyricstranslate.com/fr/hob-xxvia-2-cupido-cupid.html).

For reader's benefit, I will reproduce the title song, courtesy Lyrics Translate:

Hob XXVIa, 2 Cupido.

Weißt du, mein kleines Mägdelein,
Wer wohl Cupido ist?
Es ist ein kleines Knäbelein,
Voll Argheit, Schwänk' und List.

Zwei Flüglein hat das lose Kind,
Damit fliegt es gar schnell:
Ob es schon ist an Auglein blind,
Sieht's dennoch scharf und hell.

Rückwärts hängt ihm ein Köcherlein,
Wohl auch ein Borgen rund,
Mit dem schießt's tief ins Herz hinein
Und macht dir's liebenswund.

Dann seufzt und weint dein armes Herz,
Leidt große Qual und Pein,
Und nichts kann stillen dir den Schmerz,
Ein Männlein nur allein.

Ach Liebchen, fleuch sein Schelmenspiel
Und trau und bau ihm nicht;
Er schießt der Herzen allzuviel,
Der kleine Bösewicht.

Cupid.

Do you, little Magdalene,
who is really Cupid know?
He's a little kid,
full of cunning jokes and tricks.

The loose child has two wings,
so he flies really fast:
Whether he is already blind in eyes,
still looks sharp and bright.

A quiver hangs behind him,
probably also a round arch,
with that shoots deep into the heart
and makes you wounded by love.

Then your poor heart sighs and cries,
suffer great agony and pain,
and nothing can quell your pain.
A little man only alone.

Oh dear, fleuch his rogue game
and don’t trust him;
he shoots too many hearts,
the little rascal.

But even without the missing texts, there is still a lot to enjoy in musical terms, like the voice of a splendid lyrical tenor and lied singer, Markus Miesenberger, together with Erich Traxler, playing a historic 1815 Innsbruck fortepiano, and Cristian Haimel, playing a gut-strung period guitar, brilliantly reviving those precious tavern love song moments of the past. Moreover, to keep as close to the image of the time, they have, together with the always helpful musical insight of Bert van der Wolf, the engineering wizard of Northstar Recording, opted to ‘forget’ about a rationally made ‘studio’ recording, by presenting these love songs as genuinely pure as possible without the usual superficial technical means. The result is more than 50 minutes of first-rate natural and spontaneous ‘entertainment’, recorded in the intimacy of Saint Michael, a small country church in Sank Marien, a rural municipality about half an hour’s drive by car from Linz in Upper Austria.

In conclusion, I could not think of anything better than what Markus Miesenberger had to say: “All these special features are intended to breathe new life into romantic songs about love, passion, tenderness, affection, loss, fidelity, and infidelity, providing a genuine, unadulterated, and natural character. They enchant and seduce us into an old Vienna full of longing, devotion, charm, wit, and a musical zest for life!”.

Enjoy!

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.

Copyright © 2023 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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Comment by hiredfox - March 7, 2023 (1 of 2)

Brilliant review Adrian, I enjoyed reading it very much. Well done!

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - March 10, 2023 (2 of 2)

Thanks, John. Much appreciated