Friday, May 10, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Daniel Behle: Lieder Revolutionary

So, as I mentioned the other day, I was listening to more of the Schwetzingen Festpiele Concerts. I clicked on an unknown (to me) name, and found a program of lieder by Beethoven, Grieg, Schubert, and Richard Strauss. What drew my attention was Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Feslsen, with clarinet, almost always sung by a soprano. 

Well, it turns out that Daniel Behle “is one of the most sought-after German lieder singers.” Among his many accomplishments, he recorded Tamino in Die Zauberflote with Rene Jacobs. His Mom was an opera singer too, but he studied trombone and composition before settling on singing (I personally think composition is a great background for every musician!)  During the last few years he “has matured into one of the most renowned artists of his generation.” Tagesspiegel says, “The young German tenor Daniel Behle will revolutionize Lieder singing.” Wow! That’s a big job! But it sounds like he’s up to it. 

Oh, and he's Don Ottavio in the new Paris Don Giovanni, too!

Well-known in Europe, and singing for quite a few years now,  Herr Behle is a brand new discovery for me! His vocalizing is bright, clear, light, agile, florid, and he sings with smooth even tone throughout his range. Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebte is a new favorite of mine. I’ve been listening a lot to Christian Gerhaher’s recording. It’s fascinating to hear a tenor’s take on it. The six Grieg songs are delightful and very Norwegian sounding. The Strauss songs are widely varied in tone and tempo; Herr Behle had me hanging on every word.  and the Schubert are all well-known, including a few from Die Schöne Müllerin.

Throughout his program, Herr Behle demonstrates extreme flexibility of tempo and expression. He takes some rather breakneck speeds now and then but it never seems inappropriate. This brings me to the Shepherd on the Rock. I love this with a tenor; I don’t know why more tenors don’t sing it. I never considered this Lied to be coloratura but at his tempo, the closing section is indeed very coloratura!

Here is a recording of Ungeduld from Die Schöne Müllerin, 
some Mozart: Ich baue ganz from Die Entführung aus dem Serail, 
and a little Rossini (for a bit of coloratura):

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