Dichterliebe (JCL 513) by Carl Herring & Kevin Kyle
An original arrangement by Carl Herring of Schumann’s masterpiece, here recorded on the JCL label for the first time for Guitar and Tenor. Carl Herring and Kevin Kyle met whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music, London and collaborate regularly as a duo performing classical and modern repertoire. This particular arrangement of Dichterliebe has been a work in progress ever since Carl and Kevin met and JCL Records are delighted to have facilitated this first of many recordings of the duo. The recording is complemented at the end by Carl performing Five Schubert Songs arranged by Johann Kasper Mertz.
|Carl is the leading British guitarist of his generation and has rapidly built up an international career, giving performances throughout the UK and in Cuba, Sri Lanka, Scandinavia and Europe.|
|Kevin is rapidly developing his career as an international singer and has performed throughout the UK and Europe for the Longborough Festival Opera, Carl Rosa Opera Company, Opera Works, the Early Music Company, Le Concert d’Astree and the Armonico Consor|
Herring’s arrangement of Dichterliebe for voice and guitar gives a whole new life to the work as an intimate, direct communication with the listener rather than a performance. Kyle’s tenor is occasionally taxed audibly by the challenge but he interprets the words with intelligence. Mertz’s settings for guitar alone sound, by contrast, pleasant but pedestrian.
By Classical Music Magazine
Tenor and guitarist bring a whole new dimension to Schumann’s Heine cycle.
Now before you laugh, there is at least one precedent here: Peter Schreier and classical guitarist Konrad Ragossnig’s Die schöne Müllerin. And boy does that work. But Schumann, who thought so pianistically?
It’s not only to the credit of guitarist Carl Herring, whose skilful arrangements – played equally skilfully – these are, that so much of this also works; Kevin Kyle, with his light, unaffected tenor, brings a youthful earnestness to Heine’s poems that, in combination with the sound of plucked strings, adds a whole new, almost folk-like, dimension to this most beloved of song-cycles.
This is most evident where the songs themselves are most delicate: certainly “In wunderschönen Monat Mai” but also in “Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen”. It’s only in those songs where you really need the meat-and-potatoes of a baritone and piano – “Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome” or “Ich grolle nicht”, to cite two obvious examples – that the shortcomings of the present combination present themselves. More seriously, an overall conception of the unfolding emotional and psychological drama – such as you hear with Gérard Souzay and Dalton Baldwin or Eberhard Wächter and Alfred Brendal – seems to be lacking.
As a filler, Herring plays six Schubert arrangements for solo classical guitar by one of Schumann’s contemporaries, Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-56). As Herring points out in his notes – in which, alas, he occasionally resorts to hyperbole in order to bolster his arguments – they are indeed influenced by Liszt’s own transcriptions of the same songs; and while less overtly virtuoso, they have an irresistible charm all on their own. As does, ultimately, this surprisingly successful recording.
By Gramophone Magazine 2009
I am of two minds about this release, and almost chose not to review it, but on second though considered that its virtues outweighed the defects, and it is so different in context that many readers may indeed find it favorable. As you can tell from the heading, the main attraction is Schumann’s wonderful Heine cycle of 16 songs, probably his most popular, The Poet’s Love. Though it is most often given by male singers, it was written for soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient. Here it is tackled by the light, airy, and somewhat underpowered voice of British tenor Kevin Kyle. Dichterliebe does not necessarily require a voice of massive substance to be effective; Schumann has given so many opportunities for subtle expression that there is no benchmark standard for voice type or coloring. Even so, I find Kyle’s voice slightly on the monochromatic side, and his expressive nuances have to work overtime to offset this.
But the reason I decided to go ahead with this review is the guitar work that so easily adds coloration to an otherwise lacking dimension. For all I know this was intentional; the heading on the album cover lists Carl Herring, the guitarist first, as if the inclusion of a tenor in this work is something secondary, so I can only assume that the concept of this album is geared towards the guitar first and tenor second. The recording itself seems to back up this proposition, the guitar often even outshining the voice in terms of prominence, and sometimes getting in the way of it. There is also very little in terms of resonance around either performer despite the fact that this was recorded in a church.
Lest I seem to be leaning towards a pan, let me assure everyone that I enjoyed this album very much. While such an arrangement could never be a first choice for me or, I would venture, any Fanfare reader, there is much to savor here as the guitar allows a certain degree of nuance that you don’t usually perceive on a modern grand piano, and an intimacy that only the most hapless of period pianos could provide. One feels as if in a conversation instead of at a lecture. This alone brings a new and interesting perspective to an old favorite, and as such is recommended.
The six songs by Schubert are arranged by composer Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-56), nearly an exact contemporary of Schumann, and his thoughtful scoring makes for a fine wind-down after the passionate Schumann. Steven E. Ritter
By Fanfare Magazine
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
Arranged by Carl Herring for Guitar and Voice, Observing original keys throughout
1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
7. Ich grolle nicht
8. Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
10. Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen
11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
13. Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet
14. Allnächtlich im Traume seh ich dich
15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
16. Die alten, bösen Lieder
Sechs Schubert’sche Lieder
(Six Schubert Songs)
Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806 – 1856)
17. Die Post
19. Das Fischermädchen
22. Lob der Thränen