Toronto Summer Music Festival‏ – Matthias Goerne & Andreas Haefliger

Abends am Strand, Op.45/3; Eis leuchtet meine Liebe, Op.127/3; Mein Wagen rollet langsam, Op.142/4
Liederkreis, Op.24
Three Intermezzos, Op.117
Lieder, Op.32

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Andreas Haefliger (piano)

Reviewed by: Patrick P. L. Lam

Reviewed: 27 July, 2010
Venue: Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, Toronto

Matthias Goerne. ©G. Paul BurnettThe celebration of Robert Schumann’s bicentenary forms part of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival at a time when both the summer weather and scenic beauty further adds to a fulfilling musical experience. In addition to Schumann, the Festival also pays tribute this year to the anniversaries of Fryderyk Chopin, Gustav Mahler and Hugo Wolf.

The emotional intensity of this recital’s first three songs – to texts by Heinrich Heine – is bold, varied and turbulent, and commanded complete attention, Matthias Goerne giving unreserved dramatisation to each of the settings. In the second song he brought life to the imageries that trespassed into Schumann’s own experiences.

Andreas Haefliger. Photograph: Marco BorggreveThe warm acoustic of the Koerner Hall benefited the sensitive and nuanced account of “Liederkreis”, settings of Heine concerning unrequited love and separation, Goerne to rounding-off the sorrow of the cycle with gentle ease. The emotions and colours were carefully supported by Andreas Haefliger, who took an overall reserved approach to what could be more pronounced and varied poetic utterances from the piano.

On his own, Haefliger brought out all the lines of Brahms’s Three Intermezzos, but depth was missing, and tempos were questionable, particularly in the third piece. The dense harmonies of the middle section of the second Intermezzo were well navigated.

Brahms’s nine songs to texts by August von Platen (1796-1835) and Georg Friedrich Daumer (1800-1875) reveal a façade of illustrations from human psychology to the enduring, vivid atmosphere of night. With minute observations in phrasings and tone-colours in the opening of ‘Wie rafft’ ich mich auf in der Nacht’, Goerne entranced. The dark moods of ‘Der strom, der neben mir verrauschte’ and ‘Bitteres zu sagen denkst du’, too, were a triumph.

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