Lately, Schloss Elmau, the world-famous paradise between Zugspitze and Karwendel because of the G7 summits, was voted the very best spa resort in Europe by the Condé Nast Traveler Information. What else? If you would like, you’ll be able to swim laps in solitude in one of many many swimming pools, with nothing however sky and extra sky above.
The truth that as much as 200 live shows and cultural occasions additionally happen right here yearly is a bonus that’s much less well-known. The superb acoustics of the Elmau live performance corridor have lengthy been etched into the reminiscence of the music trade via varied recordings. Nevertheless, every so often you continue to hear derogatory feedback like ‘Oh, Elmau! That is one thing to relax out for the artists!’ Which roughly corresponds to the joke query: ‘What do musicians really do in the course of the day?’
Prob reply: You’re employed. The baritone Christian Gerhaher and the pianist Gerold Huber are on their toes from morning to nighttime on this third track week, which they’ve curated for the Elmau. Gerhaher moderates and recites when he isn’t rehearsing and singing Schubert’s “Schwanengesang” or Hugo Wolf’s “Abendbilder”.
He additionally encourages younger singers in public grasp courses. Huber not solely rehearses and performs with Gerhaher, but in addition with nearly all the visitor singers. First: with Franz-Josef Selig. He initially wished to turn into an organist, however his uniquely deep, spherical, wealthy operatic voice wished it to be totally different. He grew to become Sarastro, Gurnmanz, Arkel. Selig nearly by no means sings songs. And in that case, then solely with pal Huber. Up to now there is just one track CD from the 2 of them, it’s about songs foreshadowing demise. The passage down into the shadow world is ideal for bass gamers.
The 2 continued to pursue this concept for Elmau. This time it’s concerning the darkish, sarcastic sonnets of Michelangelo Buonarotti. Huber performs “Il Penseroso” by Franz Liszt, who was impressed by the Michelangelo determine on the tomb of Lorenzo di Medici. Gerhaher recites. Then Selig sings Dmitri Shostakovich’s Michelangelo Suite, a late work filled with barbs, harsh cuts and reductions. Piano interludes end in silence. Closing tones disappear into nothingness. Chorales hang-out previous. Kids’s sport tinkles, hammer blows on the piano.
Selig’s timbre is sort of too rounded and exquisite for the bitter materials. The extent-headedness with which he explores the which means of the textual content and sound has an depth that will get below your pores and skin. Hopefully this can quickly end in his second track CD.
The subsequent day shall be enjoyable and comfy, it’s Mörike Day. The literary scholar Helmuth Kiesel explains the way it happened that the laconic Hugo Wolf, of all folks, found the Biedermeier poet Eduard Mörike. And never only for themselves: Wolf’s songs put this long-forgotten poet again on the agenda.
The place he nonetheless reigns supreme right this moment, as Gerhaher and Huber show with a therapy bundle of Wolf Mörike songs, along with Julia Kleiter. With a wonderfully carried out angelic soprano, Kleiter creates the magic of Good Friday of “Holy Week” and in addition the lewd “First Lady Love Track” concerning the eel and the snake. With a hair-thin brush, Huber paints the textual content pictures that Wolf has entrusted to the piano. Small issues to please, massive issues to frighten.
And Gerhaher? He appears freer than typical, nearly unbuttoned, on this rollercoaster between idyll, contemplation and satire, maybe additionally because of the trade together with his colleagues and the particular Elmau atmosphere. It’s not only a singers’ summit assembly that takes place right here. Additionally a questioning of what the delicate style of the romantic piano track nonetheless means right this moment. Gerhaher calls it: “a list.”
Magdalena Kožená opens with Debussy and Messiaen. The soprano Christiane Karg carried out a tried-and-tested all-over Mahler program and was in a radiantly good temper. With Schiller’s Assure, set to music by Schubert, taking pictures star Konstantin Krimmel conquers everybody’s hearts. His extraordinary baritone voice looks as if a secret that explains itself: with pure melody, younger, clear and exact.
Later that night time, on the track sweepstakes within the bar at Schloss Elmau, Krimmel accompanies himself on the piano. He shines with “The Little Pub” by Peter Alexander. Huber delights with “The Good Outdated Franz” by Georg Kreisler. Gerhaher, then again, the intense track guru, grasp of all courses, surfs via tearjerkers and evergreens by Dean Martin, Gershwin and Paolo Conte: a world premiere. And scoffs, with flirtatious self-contrition: “We wished to do one thing right here that we will’t do.”
The very best factor concerning the Elmau this time, nevertheless, was not the crossing of the border to turn into a light-weight muse, however relatively the crossing into the current. Christian Gerhaher discusses with the Austrian author Händl Klaus concerning the creation of the opera “Lunea,” during which he himself sang the lead function, at its premiere in Zurich 4 years in the past. The phrases of this work come from the poet Nikolaus Lenau, the libretto was written by Händl Klaus, and the music was written by Heinz Holliger. Huber enhances this with three seconds-long haunted and night time items for piano by Holliger, after which accompanies Gerhaher via Holliger’s track cycle “Lunea”, the precise nucleus of the opera. These are now not songs. Somewhat, the quick, nasty aphorisms of a dying man who cherished life. And now hates it. Till the final chime.
Within the track, the realm of small and massive issues, between life and demise, one could also be misplaced to the world many times. However you too can find yourself on slippery ice. The younger, award-winning opera diva Vera-Lotte Boecker skilled this in her first track recital. A lot admired in Vienna, Lulu’s studying of Alban Berg’s seven early songs appears loud and strained. She additionally sings the 5 Schumann songs operatically. However then, with George Crumb’s cycle “Apparition”, based mostly on texts by Walt Whitman, she involves herself and will get all the way down to enterprise. And as soon as once more the twenty-first century, sure, nearly the current, entered this sensible week.