“Schubert, Beethoven, Britten and Hahn” – Wigmore Hall Live

In this, his debut Wigmore Hall recital, Polenzani brings together the works of Hahn, Beethoven, Britten and Schubert, including An die ferne Geliebte and the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, alongside leading piano-accompanist, Julius Drake.

"In their live recital from Wigmore Hall, both Matthew Polenzani and Julius Drake display great poise. They evoke recitalists of past generations, unafraid to linger Lehmann- or Moore-like as the phrase strikes them. Setting out with a varied Schubert group, the duo gives a leisurely rendering of Schubert's "Im Frühling." Polenzani has the sovereign technique to support such lingering. Spotless in intonation at all dynamic levels, he has a particularly arresting pianissimo. This ease makes a notable pleasure of "Der Einsame," which Polenzani sings with more than the usual gusto for solitude, while Drake's deftly rendered pianistic crickets chirp along merrily. Schubert's "Nachtstück" becomes a dark mini-opera when Polenzani pours on the legato in the song's second-half aria.

Next, Polenzani and Drake give a cool reading of Beethoven's An die Ferne Geliebte. While the cycle's sudden sad turn at "Und Tränen sind all ihr Gewinnen" is effectively heartrending, elsewhere the pair underplays Beethoven's frequently abrupt dynamic contrasts. This is anything but the case in Britten's effusive Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo. The frequent stretches of high tessitura suit Polenzani's vocal gifts to a tee. The tenor rides the high, quiet lines of the third sonnet, "Veggio co'bei vostri occhi," with a vocal shimmer that is a voice lesson in messa di voce, while Drake supports him with the most perfectly even arpeggios to be heard on record. The effect of their collaboration here splendidly evokes the overarching yearning of these songs." (Drew Minter, Opera News)

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  1. Schubert: Im Fruhling
  2. Schubert: Fischerweise
  3. Schubert: Der Einsame
  4. Schubert: Nachtstuck
  5. Schubert: An Silvia
  6. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte', Op. 96 - Auf dem Hugel sitz ich spahend
  7. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte', Op. 96 - Wo die Berge so blau
  8. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte', Op. 96 - Leichte Segler in den Hohen
  9. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte', Op. 96 - Diese Wolken in den Hohen
  10. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte', Op. 96 - Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au
  11. Beethoven: 'An die ferne Geliebte' Op. 96 - Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder
  12. Britten - Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22: Si come nella penna (Sonnet XVI)
  13. Britten - Seven Sonnets Of Michelangelo Op. 22: A Che Più Debb'Io Mai (Sonnet Xxxi)
  14. Britten - Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22: Veggio co'bei vostri occhi (Sonnet XXX)
  15. Britten - Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22: Tu sa', ch'io so (Sonnet LV)
  16. Britten - Seven Sonnets Of Michelangelo Op. 22: Rendete Agli Occhi Miei (Sonnet Xxxviii)
  17. Britten - Seven Sonnets Of Michelangelo Op. 22: S'Un Casto Amor (Sonnet Xxxii)
  18. Britten - Seven Sonnets Of Michelangelo Op. 22: Spirto Ben NATO (Sonnet Xxiv)
  19. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: Sopra l'Acqua Indormenzada
  20. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: La Barcheta
  21. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: L'Avertimento
  22. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: La Biondina in Gondoleta
  23. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: Che Pecà!
  24. Hahn: Venezia - Chansons en dialecte Venetien: La Primavera
  25. Encore - Danny Boy