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New Release: Drang in die Ferne (Yearning in the distance)

Schubert · Mahler · Krenek

 

Parts of Ernst Krenek’s Travel Book from the Austrian Alps, op. 62, are to be heard in a wonderful new interpretation.

The renowned baritone Erwin Belakowitsch sets off together with the talented and versatile pianist Christoph Berner on a foray through facets of the German-language art song on the recently released Gramola CD. Naturally, this cannot be without Franz Schubert, since he is one of the most important representatives of this genre. Yet, even later in the nineteenth century, the genre of songs for voice and piano was enhanced by trailblazing compositions, including Gustav Mahler’s song cycle Songs of a Wayfarer, which is likewise an arc stretching between melancholy, love, sorrow, and hope, and, entirely in the manner of Schubert, embedded in a rural environment. Ernst Krenek’s Travel Book from the Austrian Alps can tie in to this without a break. Krenek, who repeatedly emphasized Schubert’s influence on his work, and who also had much in common with Gustav Mahler – he was married for a short time to daughter Anna Mahler, and later was entrusted by Mahler’s widow Alma with the task of arranging for performance Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, which was partially transmitted only in sketches. Although Krenek’s cycle seems like a reminiscence of the beauty and nature of his Austrian homeland – composed after a trip through the Alpine country – one nevertheless also senses an ironic undertone imbued with a foreboding of leave-taking and a melancholy longing for the past.

Baritone Erwin Belakowitsch und pianist Christoph Berner, both trained at the Vienna University of Music and the Performing Arts, combine with great artistry and empathy the songs of the three composers, who were all linked to Vienna, and yet belonged to three different generations.

 

Erwin Belakowitsch, baritone

Christoph Berner, piano

Gramola 99137