Matthias Goerne’s first two Lieder albums for Deutsche Grammophon, recorded with Jan Lisiecki and Seong-Jin Cho respectively, earned rave reviews and multiple awards. The world-renowned German baritone now brings his planned trilogy to a close in collaboration with Daniil Trifonov. Their programme contains visionary meditations on the meaning of life and death, as expressed in song by Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, Berg and Shostakovich. Matthias Goerne · Daniil Trifonov – Lieder, set for release on 10 June 2022, finds two artists at the height of their powers in works that expose the heart of the human condition.
The album will be preceded by two e-singles, with “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” from Schumann’s Dichterliebe released on 22 April and “Denn es gehet dem Menschen wie dem Vieh” from Brahms’s Vier ernste Gesänge on 20 May. Music-lovers will also soon have the chance to enjoy Goerne and Trifonov’s performances of all the works on the album as captured live at the Berlin Philharmonie in January 2019. The artists’ acclaimed recital will be streamed on DG Stage on 24 June 2022.
Matthias Goerne · Daniil Trifonov – Lieder includes Schumann’s Dichterliebe (1840), a cycle of sixteen songs written in the year of the composer’s marriage, and Wolf’s Michelangelo-Lieder (1897), three profound reflections on the nature of time, mortality and love written just months before Wolf’s final descent into madness. Goerne and Trifonov open with Berg’s Vier Gesänge Op. 2, four short yet enchanting evocations of sleep and the infinite universe of dreams. Their voyage into the metaphysics of being also features three songs from Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1974), completed just over a year before the Soviet composer’s death. The album concludes with Brahms’s Vier ernste Gesänge (1896), the last of his works published in his lifetime, in which death takes its inevitable place in the natural order of things. The song-cycle’s prophetic words, matched to music of solace, are drawn from biblical texts, including the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Since the start of his career in the early 1990s, Goerne has worked with many of the world’s leading pianists, Christoph Eschenbach, Alfred Brendel, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Leif Ove Andsnes among them. He readily accepted an invitation to record landmarks of the Lieder repertoire with three of Deutsche Grammophon’s outstanding young pianists. The first in his series of recordings, an album of Beethoven Lieder and songs with Jan Lisiecki (March 2020), received Diapason d’Or and Edison Klassiek awards. It was followed in April 2021 by Im Abendrot (“At Sunset”), an anthology of Lieder by Wagner, Pfitzner and Richard Strauss recorded with Seong-Jin Cho. Im Abendrot was chosen by Australia’s Limelight magazine as its 2021 Vocal Recording of the Year.
This third and final album sees Goerne create another astonishing duo partnership, with Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov responding to every emotional nuance of their chosen works. “From the first moment we worked together I was thrilled by Daniil’s serious approach – right down to the last detail – and by the reflectiveness that informs his poetic sensibility,” comments the baritone. “It was fascinating to witness the boundlessness, maturity and understanding that he brought to these songs.”
The two artists’ intuitive and intense partnership in this repertoire was originally forged in recitals given at the 2017 Salzburg Festival, Die Glocke in Bremen and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Reviewing the Bremen recital, Der Spiegel commended their performance for its “complete symbiosis of piano and voice”. Goerne’s “powerful vocal stature”, it concluded, “provided a potent counterpart to Trifonov’s versatile elegance. This great occasion witnessed two strong individualists interacting with uncanny unanimity.”
Coinciding with the release of Matthias Goerne · Daniil Trifonov – Lieder, the duo are now set to perform the full programme again at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (9 June), the Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Wuppertal (11 June), Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle (13 June) and the Paris Philharmonie (15 June).