Richard Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder, WWV 91 - I. Der Engel, and V. Träume - performed by Elena Zhidkova (mezzo-soprano) and Nikolaus Rexroth (piano). The 2020 concert was held as part of the international Beethoven festival Be@thoven, in the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Concert Hall, in the Russian cultural metropolis of Yekaterinburg.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed the Wesendonck Lieder in 1857, setting five poems written by Mathilde Wesendonck. The resultant five-lied cycle is both thematically and pragmatically bound to the development of his Tristan and Isolde - both works dealing with the phenomenon of an unrealized romantic relationship, such as Wagner had with Mathilde Wesendonck. Mathilde’s husband, Otto Wesendonck, not only supported Wagner financially; the Wesendonck residence also directly neighbored that of the Wagners. Inasmuch, one need hardly wonder that both Tristan and Isolde and the Wesendonck Lieder take as their central themes longing, and unfulfilled love. In correspondence with Mathilde Wesendonck, Wagner himself wrote of the WWV 91 song cycle that he had never written better. Though both undertakings had reached their conclusions a year later, Wagner in 1863 still claimed that Mathilde was his first, and only love.
The first lied of the Wesendonck cycle, Der Engel (The Angel), takes as its subject the transference of love, hidden in earthly form, to the heavens - the sole place it can find redemption. The fifth song deals with the transience of Träume - ‘Dreams’ - but also with the allure of dreaming up one’s own happiness. The premiere performance of the Wesendonck Lieder took place in Laubenheim, near Mainz, in July of 1862.
( 0:22 ) I. Der Engel (The Angel)
( 3:08 ) V. Träume (Dreams)
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