Legendary German baritone Matthias Goerne, one of the world’s most renowned Lieder singers, is joined by pianist Seong-Jin Cho, a star of the younger generation, in an album of late Romantic works by Richard Wagner, Hans Pfitzner and Richard Strauss. Im Abendrot, set for international release on 16 April 2021, follows Goerne’s multiple award-winning album of Beethoven songs with Jan Lisiecki for the Yellow Label. It underlines his commitment to exploring landmarks of the Lied repertoire in recital and in the recording studio with outstanding Deutsche Grammophon artists.
“It’s almost impossible to describe the experience of exploring songs that speak so profoundly to what it is to be human with a great young performer like Seong-Jin Cho,” says Goerne. “These pieces are by three composers whose lifetimes overlapped but who are different in so many ways. This repertoire needs a fantastic pianist who has not just artistry and musicality but the technical mastery to be able to control the sound at all times. I’ll never forget the work we did together to get as close as possible to the emotional heart and meaning of these truly timeless compositions.”
The new album opens with Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder, five songs from the late 1850s directly inspired by the composer’s infatuation for the author and poet Mathilde Wesendonck, and includes Pfitzner’s sublime settings of poetry by, among others, Heinrich Heine and Joseph von Eichendorff. The latter’s “Im Abendrot” (“At Sunset”), as set by the octogenarian Strauss in 1948 for his Four Last Songs, brings the album to a haunting conclusion. Other highlights include “Ruhe, meine Seele!” and “Morgen!” – the first and last in a set of four songs written by Strauss as a wedding present for his wife, the soprano Pauline de Ahna – Pfitzner’s “Abendrot” and Strauss’s enchanting “Traum durch die Dämmerung”.
Over the past four decades Matthias Goerne has built creative partnerships not only with specialist Lieder accompanists but also with acclaimed concert pianists. The singer’s quest to work with kindred artistic spirits is reflected in a discography that includes recitals with musicians of the calibre of Alfred Brendel, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Markus Hinterhäuser, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Daniil Trifonov, Leif Ove Andsnes and Christoph Eschenbach.