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In a follow-up to their impressive reading of Die Winterreise (ONYX 4010), the inventive partnership of soprano Christine Schäfer and pianist Eric Schneider turns to two key exponents of vocal music written in the English language. Some three hundred years (and an ocean) separate the Englishman Henry Purcell from the American George Crumb (born 1929). Unlike the well-known Purcell song-book, Crumb's 1979 Apparition here receives only its second recording. Set to poems written by Walt Whitman after the assassination of President Lincoln, the haunting cycle -- with its striking use of a prepared piano and wordless vocalise -- offers a vision of death’s beauty. Schäfer and Schneider have often juxtaposed these composers in recital, but rather than proceed in a sequential order on CD (e.g. Purcell then Crumb), they have intermingled them so that a narrative can emerge, depicting love, marriage, jealousy, abandonment and death. Linking the stages of this journey are short spoken lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets, yielding an unforgettable 70-minute experience.
- Christine Schäfer
- 1 CD
release date. 2011-12-01