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CHAN 10492
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CHAN 10492

Schumann: Songs of love and loss

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2008

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2008


Sarah Connolly


Eugene Asti



Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk


Rachel Smith


Jonathan Cooper

Paul Quilter


Record Label


Vocal & Song


Total Time - 65:38
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Mein schoner Stern!, Op. 101 No. 4

  from Minnespiel aus Rückerts Liebesfrühling  

Gedichte der Konigin Maria Stuart, Op. 135

2 [I] Abschied von Frankreich. Ziemlich langsam 1:52
3 [II] Nach der Geburt ihres Sohnes. Langsam 1:35
4 [III] An die Königin Elisabeth. Leidenschaftlich 1:32
5 [IV] Abschied von der Welt. Langsam 2:59
6 [V] Gebet. [ ] 1:41

Requiem, Op. 90 No. 7

  (Altkatholisches Gedicht)  
  from Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau und Requiem  
  Langsam - Nach und nach belebter - Erstes Tempo  

Liederkreis, Op. 39

  (Joseph von Eichendorff)  
8 I In der Fremde. Nicht schnell 2:06
9 II Intermezzo. Langsam - Nach und nach schneller und schneller - [ ] 1:43
10 III Waldesgespräch. Ziemlich rasch 2:18
11 IV Die Stille. Nicht schnell, immer sehr leise - Etwas lebhafter - Erstes Tempo 1:33
12 V Mondnacht. Zart, heimliche 3:58
13 VI Schöne Fremde. Innig, bewegt 1:19
14 VII Auf einer Burg. Adagio 2:40
15 VIII In der Fremde. Zart, heimlich 1:21
16 IX Wehmut. Sehr langsam 2:41
17 X Zwielicht. Langsam 2:52
18 XI In Walde. Ziemlich lebendig 1:16
19 XII Frühlingsnacht. Ziemlich rasch 1:32

Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42

  (Acht Lieder nach Adelbert von Chamisso)  
  Oswald Lorenz gewidmet  
20 I Seit ich ihn gesehen. Larghetto 2:29
21 II Er, der Herrlichste von allen. Innig, lebhaft 3:57
22 III Ich kann's nicht fassen, nicht glauben. Mit Leidenschaft - Etwas langsamer - Adagio - [ ] 1:35
23 IV Du Ring an meinem Finger. Innig - Nach und nach rascher - [ ] 2:56
24 V Helft mir, ihr Schwestern. Ziemlich schnell 2:07
25 VI Süßer Freund, du blickest. Langsam, mit innigem Ausdruck - Lebhafter - Adagio 4:56
26 VII An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust. Fröhlich, innig - Schneller - Noch schneller - Langsamer 1:35
27 VIII Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan. Adagio - [ ] - Adagio. Tempo wie das erste Lied 4:14
The British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, twice nominated for a Grammy, here performs a collection of songs by Robert Schumann, which combines two song cycles from the extremely prolific ‘song’ year 1840 with several songs from the composer’s last years.

She is accompanied by Eugene Asti.

Sarah Connolly fell in love with Schumann’s songs in her youth. She has sung them since her early days as a performer and in the booklet she and Eugene Asti write, ‘at the heart of Schumann’s music on this recording lie a profound melancholy and a personal and completely honest, open-hearted empathy for the poetry, which is totally disarming. All the stories and situations depicted in these songs were so much a part of the composer’s own life experience that we just cannot help but be touched and moved by them. Perhaps it is for these reasons that our love for Schumann is especially great, and we feel privileged to be able to share this extraordinary music with you’.

It is often claimed that Schumann’s late songs, which include the first seven on this CD, show a composer in decline – a charge that is refuted by such wonderful Lieder as the Wilhelm Meister settings and ‘Nachtlied’ (Goethe), ‘Der Einsiedler’ (Eichendorff), ‘Aufträge’ (L’Egru), ‘Mein schöner Stern!’ (Rückert), ‘Requiem’ (Dreves), the Lenau settings of Op. 90 and the Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, all of which are as fine as anything Schumann wrote in 1840, his great ‘song’ year.

The album’s key work is the rarely recorded Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, songs on five poems attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots. They were his last Lieder and the most austere that Schumann ever wrote. He composed the set in 1852 during a period of deep depression and offered the work as a Christmas present to his wife, Clara. It is also matched here by ‘Requiem’, setting a translation by Leberecht Blücher Dreves of an old sacred Latin text. This requiem, from Op. 90, was one of four that Schumann composed in the last years of his creative life, and it seems likely that the proliferation of such settings around 1850 had symbolic import – ‘requiems, after all, are written for oneself’, as Schumann once confided to a friend.

"Sarah Connolly’s beautifully sung Frauenliebe und –leben often called to mind Janet Baker’s early recording with Martin Isepp. From the sad reverie of the opening song , Connolly, like Baker, gives the cycle a more melancholy introspective cast than most ... Connolly’s is a psychology convincing reading, abetted by the fastidious, if sometimes self-effacing, Eugene Asti ...  Connolly also makes an eloquent case for some much-malinged late Schumann, singing the bleak, confessional Maria Stuart songs with the touching directness and intimacy of feeling that mark her whole recital."


"Sarah Connolly reveals much of the composer’s fervent inwardness – something she and her accompanist, Eugene Asti, capture so well throughout. Connolly’s light, focussed mezzo brings a sense of emotional fragility to the Maria Stuart songs, too, withoutseeming over-ponderous. Connolly creates a special sense of intimacy here which also characterises her performance of Frauenliebe und-leben - warmly breathed and beautifully shaped.

BBC Music Magazine

"Connolly has waited long for her due recognition – at least on disc – as one of the world’s most versatile mezzos, but with her Covent Garden debut later this season, and this exceptional new Schumann recital, one can justly claim that she has arrived… Connolly, in sumptuous voice, brings these songs and the two great cycles vividly to life."

The Sunday Times

"Her assured phrasing and rich, warm voice breathe life into Schumann’s two great song cycles."


"Deeply felt, meltingly phrased and probingly thoughtful accounts of some of the greatest songs ever written."

Classic FM Magazine

"Schumann’s love songs play to the strengths of Sarah Connolly’s rich and characterful mezzo. There is much to enjoy here from both Connolly and the illuminating accompanist Asti."

The Times

"Connolly’s warm, amber mezzo is a beautiful instrument and, in tandem with the discerning Eugene Asti, she gives deeply felt performances of all three."

The Telegraph

"Another delight for a worthy recipient is Sarah Connolly’s CD of Schumann Leider - Songs of Love and Loss."

The Singer

"Leiderkriess is superbly done - an unnerving voyage through a soured Romantic landscape, awash with intimations of the horrors that lurk unsuspected in the corners ofd the psyche. Asti is her breathtaking fine accompanist."

The Guardian

B Svensson

D Emsley