As the words, “This is truly dreadful weather” were sung out in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on the night of January 23, 2013, I could not help but liken that line to the current state of things in New York City. Yet the voice singing those words (in German) was warm enough to melt the hardest of hearts. That voice was of Dorothea Röschmann and her accompanist was Malcolm Martineau. The program included works by Franz Shubert, Richard Strauss, Franz Liszt, and Hugo Wolf.
Sung entirely in German, the evenings list of lieder told a story of love, loss, and healing.
In the first piece, Ms. Röschmann was able to convey she not only possessed an extreme talent, but that she knew exactly how to use it. She has at her disposal a seamless voice that makes one think of deep, rich chocolate (or perhaps hot cocoa would be more apropos) without being overly sweet. She has her harsh edges, but they only serve her all the better with the pieces she chose to sing.
Her first set included "Gretchen am Spinnrade, D. 118." It was in this piece where Ms. Röschmann showed her greatest versalitility. The piece is almost lieder’s answer to a Mad Scene, and she took great care to portray these emotions flawlessly. With the music as her guide, she ended the piece drained of emotion and was totally raw, exposed, and empty on stage. She followed this with "Gretchens Bitte, D. 564" where she was able to produce brash colors, then emerge to reveal the dolce undertones all in one passage. The effect was something quite astounding.
Her Strauss was her most beautiful work, though. In these pieces, she was not just singing notes on a page, she was able to connect and communicate with us. To create a dialog that nearly brought one to tears. "Morgan" being the stand out in this set. It was here were both artists created poetry with music. Ms. Röschmann ended this set with "O Glück!" Her interpretation was that of an ironic contract between the text and the music itself. Meaning to be happy, but obviously far from it.
Her Liszt and Wolf sets both equally enhanced and furthered ones belief of her artistry. Particularly in Liszt’s "Ich möchte hinghn", and the final piece, Wolf’s "Dennst du das Land." It was no surprise that she was called back to the stage after her bow to take an encore.
The evening was the perfect mix of music, poetry, and art, leaving one completely satisfied with the fact that great German lieder lives on in the voices of great artists like Ms. Röschmann.
There is just something to be said about hearing German sung by a native speaker. It is like getting it straight from the horses mouth, or like hearing English recited by a great American orator. One just knows and believes in its authenticity whole-heartedly.
Our pianist, Malcolm Martineau, hails from Edinburgh, and studied at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and the Royal College of Music.
For more information about Ms. Röschmann, click here
For more information about Mr. Martineau, click here
For more information about Carnegie Hall, click here.