Lieder anyone?

This niche within classical music, largely leaves my cold a defect in my character I'm sure. I suppose it reached a sort of peak in 19th century Germany, becoming an important part of Schubert's output for example. 

But and it's a big but, there is Mahler and Richard Straus, two of my favourite 20th century composers anyway. They both produced achingly beautiful, melancholic song cycles and I never tire of listening to them. If you want to explore them, then anything by Janet Baker or Elizabeth Scwarzkopf are just perfect for Mahler and Leontine Price's 4 Last Songs for Strauss. You can't go wrong with them.




I have about a dozen versions of Winterreise, and I listen mostly to Goerne because I like his performance and it is one that has been ripped to my server.  Strauss' Four Last Songs has so many great performances; I tend to listen mostly to Schwartzkopf and Janowitz.  My other often played lieder recordings is Mahlers Das Lied von der Erde with Brigitte Faesbaender.

There are some very good modern lieder composers that are worth looking into.  I think you could pick up any Eric Whitacre recording and find something you will like.

I don't care if I can't understand the words that are being sung. It's the sound, more accurately the noises that are produced, that do it for me. Yeah I have a passing familiarity with most of the languages that lieder are sung in, but even when I don't it's no problem for me to fill in the emotional blanks and just ride with it.

I don't understand the languages of most of the lieder I listen to, but, I do know what the songs are about from having read the translations.  I think this does ad to the experience.

There are plenty of songs that are sung in English, such as those of Eric Whitacre that I mentioned above.  Another living American song composer that is quite interesting is Craig Urquhart.  British mid-century composers, like Britten, also wrote some interesting songs too.  

I agree with you regarding The Four Last Songs in that I love Gundula Janowitz singing them but I also love the great Jessye Norman in them also. I remember one year going to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh for a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony The Resurrection and as the four soloists were coming on to the stage I saw this magnificent presence coming into view and it was The great Jessye  Norman She was first heard in the Uhrlicht and then in the Finale and I thought she was awesome with her voice floating over that huge orchestra effortlessly. Well she is the other soloist I love in The Four Last Songs. She also was magnificent in lots of Strauss's Lieder.

I also love the Norman Four Last Songs.  

One more suggestion: Cantaloube “Songs of the Auverne.”