It was the conclusion to the vernissage "ways to heaven"; whereby it was not necessarily meant as a supplement. Because the paths of romance do not lead to the sky, but to the inner life.
The curiosity, however, was less aroused by the event than by the two performers, because their names, although or perhaps because they are well known, are last of all associated with the romantic piano song: katrin edelmann (mezzo-soprano) and jorg woltche (piano). They have often played together in the erloserkirche, but on a completely different sector. So this evening was in a certain way a premiere.
The fact that katrin edelmann sings a lot of sacred music was noticeable – but not because her songs had become sermons or because she had become "prayer" with them from hugo wolf’s morike settings began. But it was noticeable in her tone: very basic and extremely precise, with a certain serenity and with very sparing use of tremolo. It was not about striking virtuosity, for which a strong tremolo is often taken, but about intimacy and inwardness, about the unhindered, accessible presentation of emotions, about a lasting effect. Who wrote one of the best-known and most beautiful songs of the romantic period, robert schumann’s setting of eichendorff’s "moonlit night"? ("es war, als hatt’ der himmel / die erde still gekusst") sings with such calmness, who dares not to obscure the difficult intervallic leaps of the absolutely blob lying voice by tremolo, must already be very sure of his thing. Whereby katrin edelmann could rely on the fact that she has a – by no means self-evident – wonderfully calm, soft middle voice, on which she can let her voice fall, so to speak.
In general, the program was very cleverly arranged with six hugo wolf songs after morike, because they not only allow for coarse colorfulness, but also because the singer allowed herself, in songs like "der gartner" (the gartner), to be a little bit more colorful, "lemon butterfly in april or "the abandoned little girl" to find and shape the humor of the psychologically burdened composer.
Own handwriting for each song
Conceptually conclusive was robert schumann’s liederkreis op. 39 on texts by joseph von eichendorf. For on the one hand she succeeded in wonderful vocal pragnant character sketches, which she joined together to the romantic world picture of a dream or intoxicating idyll up to the plotzlichen change with the realization of the erzahler, who, torn from his dreams and pictures, notices that he is not meant at all, that he stands before auben vor. It wasn’t just "the night of the moon", which radiated this intensity, but also the ever more urgent "waldesgesprach", the clash with the witch lorelei with its dialogue structure or the "twilight", in which the dream of an ideal world is dismantled. Each song had its own handwriting.
And finally five songs by johannes brahms, which always seem so nice and harmless and yet are so difficult to sing and play. But even here there was room for interpretation, as in the swabian folk song "unten im tale" in which the rejected lover bears his defeat with astonishingly laconic soullessness.
The last song "von ewiger liebe" (of eternal love) became the real high point of the concert, but not because of the somewhat pathetic lyrics by joseph wenzig, which culminate in the unsurprising exclamation: "unsere liebe muss ewig bestehn!". But because of the brahms processing.
Here, at least, the respect for jorg woltche grew immeasurably. For brahms was one of the best pianists among the composers, and he himself is above all an organist and harpsichordist with completely different touch and shaping techniques. But he had uncompromisingly burrowed into the material, did not hide behind his sangerin. He did not accompany in the sense of a servant function, but made offers and dramatic pressure, provoked and contrasted with astonishing grip.
Eternal love was the masterpiece, so to speak. For there not only the rhythmic intricacy demands a precious part of the attention, but also the difficult heritage of the composer’s coarse, elastic touch. And yet – or perhaps precisely because of this – jorg woltche made it clear how brahms misleads expectations with unpredictable harmonies that people like to play over, and how difficult it is for the singers to counteract them.
But katrin edelmann knew her tone, loved not to be disturbed, loved not to be irritated by the forced sproutiness of the sentence. A really great conclusion that generated two encores: "wie melodien zieht es mir" and "guten abend, gut’ nacht" (good evening, good night) both naturally by brahms. A model of cooperation that should have a future if the parties involved want it – and then perhaps with an even better wing one day.