This year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland I am working on German Lieder. ‘Lied’ is a German and Dutch word meaning “song” and I fell in love with this style of singing when I was first introduced to classical repertoire. The songs are so emotively written and they challenge the singer to perform these songs as they were originally intended.
These songs are mainly from the Romantic period (the 19th Century) and are highly charged with emotional music and expressive lyrics. The earliest lieder date from the 12th and 13th Century and were the work of poet-musicians called ‘minnesinger’ poets and singers of courtly love, longing and the beauty of nature.
Romantic Lieder is one of my favourite genres to sing at the moment. I have sung with some amazing accompanists at many music festivals, the piano part sets the mood of the score rather than remaining in the background. There are many key changes and colourful harmonies and I love working on the colour and vocal interpretation of these beautiful pieces.
I chose to sing two Lieder composed by Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949 ) “Zueignung” and “Freundliche Vision” for my entry into this year’s Ferrier competition and I have attached a copy of my performance of “Freundliche Vision” (A Pleasant Vision) from the final round.
The strong lyrical melodies and the rich harmonies within this song made it a joy to perform. To perform Lieder well you need to have a seamless relationship between piano and voice, the piano does far more than accompaniment, it forms an equal partnership with the voice and the skill of the pianist is very important to how the song is portrayed. The accompanist in this performance was a talented RCS third year student from Romania, George Todica, and I hope you enjoy our version.
I found a translation for lyrics of this song here in English French, Italian alongside the original German.
If you would like to read some additional information here are a couple of links:
Within the translation of the lyrics there is a line “and I walk with one who loves me”, on this Thanksgiving I hope that you can be with those you love and say thanks to them 🙂