I was returning to Teatro de la Zarzuela, al Lied cycle co-produced with the CNDM, one of our favorite baritones, Christian Gerhaher, accompanied on the piano by his inseparable Gerold Huber, in what will be a short national tour. After this recital they arrive at the Palau Les Arts in Valencia on 10 February and at the Arriaga Theater in Bilbao on 12 February. All three with this same program.
On this occasion Gerhaher addresses a typically romantic repertoire with the presence of two authors, Robert Schumann y Claude Debussy. Two authors of different characters and textures that have been inserted in the programming. This requires great interpretive solvency to maintain the personality of both composers and that our baritone and his companion perform with extraordinary ease.. Another thing is to think about the success and coherence of this stylistic combination.
The 20 Schumann songs belonging to Six chants, Songs and singing Y Three chants, can be considered as of its later stage. A more relaxed Schubet, less interested in politics, unlike Wagner, that never left her, and more concerned with reaching a wider audience. This was noticed in his music that, although it preserved the quality, ceased to have the initial originality and focused on topical romantic descriptions. For this he used texts by somewhat minor poets, with which he could give prominence to simpler themes.
The nature of these songs showed, as, in the interpretation. Gerhaher outlines them masterfully and with the uniformity they express. So we miss the intensity of works with more depth load. Its emission in these repertoires requires great vocal agility, something Gerhaher owns, and a less baritonal timbre, who also knows how to drive. The result is a flatter recital than others to which the German baritone has us accustomed.
The variety of hues and colors came with Debussy's songs. Six total, Three songs from France Y Trais poemes by Stéphane Mallamé. Small musical delicacies with which Gerhaher demonstrated his vocal versatility and which Huber accompanied masterfully. Here the piano surpassed the voice. Gerhaher knows how to be accompanied by a Huber who knows him perfectly and always enhances the work of the voice.
The applause of an always enthusiastic audience led them to offer two tips. The first a lied of the protagonist of the night, Schumann, and another from Mendelssohn, to conclude this recital of one of the most notable couples in the Lied Cycle.
Photograph (c) Rafa Martin