LIEDER I / BEETHOVEN: Klage.2 Neue Liebe, neues Leben.2 Erlkönig.3 In questa tomba oscura.4 Sehnsucht (3 settings).1 Gesang aus der Ferne.2 An die Geliebte (3 versions).3 Egmont: Freudvoll und liedvoll (3 vers.) 1 Das liebe Kätzchen.1 Der Knabe auf dem Berge.1 Schwinge dich in meinem Dom (reconstructed by Holsbergen).1 Dimmi, ben mio, che m’ami (2 vers).2 Buβlied (2 vers.)3 Wonne der Wehmut.2 Feuerfarb.3 Opferlied.3 An Henrietten.2 Gretels Warnung.1 Languisco e moro1 / 1Elisabeth Breuer, sop; 2Rainer Trost, ten; 3Paul Armin Edelmann, bar; 4Ricardo Bojórquez, bs; Bernadette Bartos, pno / Naxos 8.574071
In preparation for the 250th anniversary of the death of Beethoven, several labels have been scrambling to release boxed sets, some complete and some merely a “best of,” to celebrate. Here is one of what appear to be several new issues by Naxos, another of which (to be reviewed soon) is Adám Fischer’s traversal of the Nine Symphonies.
This first volume of what will no doubt be a complete series of his songs focuses on his early output without opus numbers, the exception being the well-known “Freudvoll uns liedvoll” from Egmont. The album is split up among four different singers, but the lion’s share goes to tenor Rainer Trost and soprano Elisabeth Breuer, with baritone Paul Armin Edelmann in third place. Basso Ricardo Bojórquez gets but one song, probably the best-known of all of these early pieces, “In questa tomba oscura.”
What I found interesting about these songs is that, although Beethoven’s early piano music, chamber music and concerti sound much like Mozart, these songs clearly do not. He is already introducing major-minor changes into the harmony that Mozart would have avoided (I won’t say “didn’t think of,” because he was a musical genius, but probably avoided because they might have upset his not-too-sophisticated audiences). And then there is a song like Neue Liebe, neues Leben that sounds for all the world like Schubert (I dare you to play this as a blindfold test for your musical friends and ask them to name the composer…it sounds like a song left out of Die Schöne Müllerin). Perhaps not surprisingly, even the young Beethoven rose to the occasion for Erkönig, which sounds like an earlier version—again by Schubert, only less “regularly” melodic and more dramatic. It’s far more sophisticated than the much later version by Carl Loewe, as much as I admire many of Loewe’s ballads, and Edelmann sings the hell out of it. Bojórquez sings an incredibly subtle In questa tomba oscura, almost the equal of the kind of work that Alexander Kipnis could do in lieder, despite lisping in the letter “s.”
Elisabeth Breuer has one of those “pure”-toned voices of the old German school (think of Elfride Trötschel or Gundula Janowitz) that scarcely exist any more, but here she is. The three different settings of Sehnsucht are entirely different from each other, not just slightly different variants on the same melody. I’d like to put in a plug here, before I forget, for the fairly lively and sensitive playing of pianist Bernadette Bartos, who is excellent throughout this recital. Unlike Edelmann, who is the most famous singer here and is dependably excellent, Trost was unknown to me, yet I was really knocked out by his beautiful tone, vocal and breath control and interpretive skills. Please, let him not die young or ruin his voice! We need someone like this to take over from Peter Schreier as a great singer of lieder and light German roles! By contrast with Sehnsucht, the three versions of An die Geliebte sound like the same melody, reworked differently in rhythm and tempo, and with different piano accompaniments.
Freudvoll und liedvoll again changes the melody completely in the three different versions. Breuer does her level best here to interpret the lyrics but, although she is good, she’s not on the same high level as Trost or Edelmann. The second of these is the most famous setting, the one that even Lilli Lehmann recorded back in 1906, but the third version is also quite good—in fact, I think it’s more creative and dramatic than the famous second version. Breuer is also pretty lively in Das liebe Kätzchen.
Dimmi, ben mio, che m’ami, one of his rare songs in Italian, is sung beautifully by Trost. The two versions of Buβlied are packed into one performance, which includes the different version of bars 101-103; this is sung with excellent voice and interpretation by Edelmann. Oddly, the last piece on this disc, Languisco e moro, sounds like an unfinished song—it ends abruptly, in the middle of nowhere.
An outstanding disc of early Beethoven lieder, then, highly recommended!
© 2019 Lynn René Bayley
Pittsburgh´s Symphony´s "Messiah" culminates in majestic splendour: „...Paul Armin Edelmann, son of the great Viennese bass Otto Edelmann, has a big, rich voice and he projected the rhetoric with commanding authority. TRIBLIVE Pittsburgh- Mark Kanny about Handels " Messiah" with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck conducting.“ - December 6th 2015
„Edelmann´s Lieder in the King´s Chapel: Edelmann and piano accompanist Charles Spencer established an appropriate tone for each song: joy touched with terror at the storm; tender devotion for the maiden, whose prayerful vow included a lovely falsetto; and false bravado for the wanderer. Nostalgia crept into each song, until the Alte Laute, the last, offered death as an escape from the dream of lost sounds. After the interval, we heard five Lieder from Schubert, representing a range of moods. Am Fenster was rich and moving, but I especially enjoyed Ständchen for its lovely opening and disarming serenade. Ungeduld was full of uneasy energy and once more demonstrated the range of Edelmann´s voice, without ever breaking his line with Spencer's piano. The encore was Schumann´s Widmung, for which Edelmann again enunciated his clear baritone, unadorned by showy effects. Both musicians were excellent, and we must thank the Gibraltar Philharmonic Society for its continued commitment to both quality and variety.“
(Gibraltar Chronicle- C. Wall reviewing the Schumann/Schubert/Mahler- recital in Gibraltar on November 19th 2015)
"Take any one song and Edelmann is its master. Perhaps over the whole sequence one could wish for still more variety of vocal colour, but then on disc we are really not obliged to hear the whole cycle at a sitting, since Brahms expected only a few of these songs to be done at a time."
(Roy Westbrook, www.musicweb-international.com)
"The son of famed bass-baritone Otto Edelmann, Paul not only has a lovelier voice (but is no less fine an artist) but is even more handsome than his father—a potent combination nowadays when visual attractiveness counts nearly as much as acting skills and vocal ability."
(Lynn René Bayley, FANFARE MAGAZINE - USA)
(Joseph Newsome - Februar 2014 - www.voix-des-arts.com)
"Paul Armin Edelmann is the perfect song-poet with a wonderfully balanced and seamless voice; a dreamy, soft legato binding every phrase, text and music in an exemplary manner into a single unit of song and story. A feast for the ears."
FonoForum.de, on the Verdi Canzoni CD
"Paul Armin Edelmann as Allazim wound his beautiful baritone voice effortlessly through the registers, the pianissimi cleanly audible and his articulation deft and clear -- with his acting a joy to watch as well."
(G. Helbig, Das Opernglas, October 2011, about Mozart's Zaide at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival)
"Paul Armin Edelmann sang the Count with ease, a polished style and richly varied phrasing."
MundoClasico.com, (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, October 2011)
"Paul Armin Edelmann, son of Otto Edelmann, made for an honorable Conte who sang the aria 'Vedro' with the requisite authority."
El Patio de Butacas, (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, October 2011)
"...Edelmann's Conte glittered with a round register, crisp enunciation and powerful projection... "
ABC de Sevilla, (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, October 2011)
"Paul Armin Edelmann has a lyrical baritone timbre and a youthful, well-focused voice."
Diario de Sevilla, (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, October 2011)
"Paul Armin Edelmann (son of the famous Otto) was an excellent Conte, well-played and powerful."
Foro "Una Noche en la Opera", (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, September 2011)
"The Viennese baritone Paul Armin Edelmann sang Count Almaviva with a noble and richly colored voice."
ADN.ES (Conte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatro Maestranza Sevilla, September 2011)
"The true stars of the evening were world-class soprano Chen Reiss and her baritone colleague Paul A. Edelmann, who presented Schumann's Lieder in the extremely sound interpretative style one so rarely experiences. Worked out to the last detail, one could still understand every word in the farthest row of the hall. In addition, excellent acoustics ensured that none of the vocal quality offered by these exceptional singers was lost."
-- G. Helbig, Dschungel Anderswelt (Schumann recital, Die Myrten, Philharmonie Berlin, 21 Feb 2011)
"The Austrian baritone Paul A. Edelmann, a "Papageno" and "Eisenstein" of international repute, impressed with a powerful, energetic voice, and knew how placing grim stresses (Lieder aus dem Schenkenbuch im Divan No.1) and painful ones (Aus den hebräischen Gesängen) contrasted with tenderly flattering piano (Zwei venetianische Lieder), aggressive emphasis (Hauptmanns Weib) and hovering legato (Du bist wie eine Blume). The warmth of a manly, sonorous voice was again used to most beautiful effect."
-- Bernd Hoppe, Opernglas (Schumann recital, Die Myrten, Philharmonie Berlin, 21 Feb 2011)
"Paul Armin Edelmann in the leading role embodies it with assurance and passion. He is an artist of international repute and captivates with wonderful professionalism."
-- Opéra Passion, ODB-Opera.com (Orfeo, Monteverdi, Montpellier / April 2011)
"Viennese Paul Armin Edelmann delivers a lush, lithe Orfeo whose great musicality and warm vocal timbre artistically makes the most of every nuance."
-- Bertrand Bolognesi,Anaclase.com (Orfeo, Monteverdi, Montpellier / April 2011)
"There were also wonderful singer-actors: Paul Armin Edelmann sang a playful but powerfully masculine Eisenstein."
(Philharmonie Köln, Die Fledermaus, November 2010), G. Helbig / Das Opernglas)
"Paul Armin Edelmann, the only Austrian in the ensemble, is a handsome, maturely experienced, relaxed and naturally fluent presence as Eisenstein, equipped with a powerful baritone featuring robust tenorlike highs."
(Der neue Merker, November 2010, Udo Klebes)
"Gabriel von Eisenstein's role was rendered by Paul Armin Edelmann with elegance, a restrained Viennese humor, and a baritone secure on the highs."
(Schwäbische Zeitung, 2.11.2010, Katharina von Glasenapp)
"A pair of really notable vocal performances stood out. One was the Eisenstein of native Viennese Paul Armin Edelmann, in terms of both voice and theatrical presence the equal of an Eberhard Waechter."
(Badische Zeitung, 2.11.2010, Alexander Dick)
"All the roles were glossily handled; Paul Armin Edelmann sang his Eisenstein with near-lyrical beauty."
(Weltspiegel, 2.11.2010, Wolfgang Bager)
"Paul Armin Edelmann made a flexible and powerful Eisenstein."
(Opernwelt, December 2010, Uwe Schweikert)
"...Much depends on the singers' ability to set the mood so essential to a successful Fledermaus, and these singers were highly acceptable actors as well. This was especially true for Paul Armin Edelmann as Eisenstein."
(Die Welt, 2.11.2010, Stephan Hoffmann)
"Edelmann's baritone was powerful and versatile; his intense rendition of Mahler's 'Nicht Wiedersehn!' made a particularly strong impression."
-- Gerhard Dietel, Passauer Neue Presse, 22.6.2010 (Liederabend "Alma Mahler - femme fatale" at the European Festival Week, Passau)
"Not merely dominating the stage but ruling it, in top vocal form, is Paul Armin Edelmann as Papageno."
-- V.P., Kronen Zeitung, 16.07.2010 (Premiere – Die Zauberflöte - OFS St. Margarethen)
"Above all, Paul Armin Edelmann's fabulous Papageno does Mozart credit in every possible way."
-- Peter Jarolin, Kurier, 16.07.2010 (Premiere, Die Zauberflöte - OFS St. Margarethen)
"From the start of the opera spectacle, excellent soloists were in play; baritone Paul Armin Edelmann bore off the palm, closely followed by Staatsopera regular Walter Fink as a powerfully-voiced Sarastro."
-- Kleine Zeitung, 16.07.2010 (Premiere, Die Zauberflöte - OFS St. Margarethen)
"Paul Armin Edelmann was a Papageno with a great voice and lots of humor and playfulness."
-- Elena Habermann, Der Neue Merker, 18.07.2010 (Premiere, Die Zauberflöte - OFS St. Margarethen)
The Magic Flute, Hong Kong:
"Paul Armin Edelmann's hilarious Papageno had the audience eating out of his hand, and his singing was distinguished by deep firm tone and impeccable control. In their tender Act One duet, he and Huang Ying's exquisitely lyrical Pamina gave an object lesson in singing Mozart."
(Natasha Rogal, South China Morning Post, November 10, 2009)
Don Giovanni, Dublin, Ireland:
"Standing out from the rest of the ensemble is Paul Armin Edelmann, whose performance as Don Giovanni features both a polished delivery and a timbre both virile and manly; displaying both dramatic and vocal agility in a most attractive title performance."
(Opernglas, May 2009)
"Dublin recently witnessed the debut of a new "Don Giovanni" from Austria. Paul Armin Edelmann, recognised as a first-class new singer since his 2007 'Christmas in Vienna' appearance alongside Elena Garanca, took on one of the most demanding opera roles and proved he was ideally cast. This stylish charmer has all he needs to make women weak at the knees - he flatters, he radiates joie de vivre, he struts like a rooster, he's got a sense of humour; and he trumps it all with his velvet baritone voice."
(Peter Dusek, Oesterreichischer Tageszeitung, April 2009)
"The opera stage has set a new standard for "Don Giovanni"! Those who saw the last 'Christmas in Vienna' concert, where Edelmann performed superbly alongside Elina Garanca and Juan Diego Florez, won't be surprised by the huge success of the new Don Giovanni in Dublin. If you want drama, then this seducer's voice flatters and entices from the outset: he sings the serenade like a Schubert lied, the champagne aria like a pop-song, and holds that high A in the finale. When it comes to "that certain something," performers either have it or they don't - and Paul Armin has it in abundance!"
(Peter Dusek, Der Neue Merker, April 2009)
"The visual and auditory wonder of Elina Garancia's radiant Mezzo voice harmonised beautifully with the melting voice of tenor Juan Diego Florez, and equally so in every way matching all of them the baritone voice of Paul Armin Edelmann and the brilliantly lyrical voice of Genia Kühmeier."
(Peter Dusek, Der Neue Merker, Jänner 2009: über "Christmas in Vienna 2008")
"As regards Danilo, [Edelmann] is not just a very handsome man, but a handsome Viennese. He makes you really believe in his portrayal of Danilo. With his soothing and refreshing baritone voice, he not only wins the heart of 'Hanna' but also the hearts of all the audience members."
(Elke Baliarda, Galler Nachrichten, January 8, 2009)
"Paul Armin Edelmann, singing 'Count Danilo' is vocally a special performer who not only sings with a round, full, bright timbre, but takes you in from the first moment he sings the opening aria for this leading part."
(Martin Preisser, Südkurier, December 24, 2008)
"'Count Danilo', 'Hanna Glawari''s old flame, projects the right combination of youthful recklessness and full bodied baritone timbre. He gives the 'good-for-nothing' character charm and passion."
(Bettina Kugler, St. Galler Tagblatt, December 22, 2008)
Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart), Wiener Volksoper:
"The 'Papageno' of Paul Armin Edelmann, son of legendary baritone Otto Edelmann, was the sole saving grace of the performance. The younger Edelmann's voice has a beautiful sheen, like a bass clarinet, and he uses it well. "
(Larry L. Lash, Opera News, March 2006)
Liederabend Allegro Vivo - Festival:
"In an exquisite, intimate setting, baritone P. A. Edelmann sang early Schubert songs, accompanied by the delicate fingers of Barbara Moser at the piano. Here is a singer not to be missed: Edelmann's youthful baritone has a particular beauty and warmth, and he is an especially charming interpreter of ardent springtime mood and melancholy yearning. Later he sang Tosti and Respighi, and as in the Schubert, the total commitment of the artist was a pleasure as his elegantly-balanced, agile voice matched song to text."
(Traude Steinhauser, Der neue Merker, 2005)
Recital, ACF New York, New York City:
"...Paul Armin Edelmann is a high baritone or perhaps "baritenor", usefully for his burgeoning operetta career -- with the ability to float high-flying phrases. He boasts sterling diction and a forthright approach to text. Edelmann sang Wolf (Three Songs to Poems by Michelangelo), enjoyably done) and Schubert: "Musensohn" blended youthful exuberance and fresh tone with particular aptness. ...His is a genuinely attractive voice; given his enthusiasm and charm, one sees why Frankfurt and San Diego have signed [Edelmann] for Papageno."
(David Shengold, Opera News Online, December 2004)
Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart), Oper Frankfurt:
"Paul Armin Edelmann's "Papageno" was mimetically, dramatically and vocally outstanding."
(Christian Rupp, Offenbach Post, Nov. 2004)
"The Vienna State Opera has a new Papageno; Paul Armin Edelmann made a brilliant debut. He captured the audience with his well-trained, resonant voice that was up to any transformation, and his infectious acting talent made his performance thoroughly entertaining without ever becoming pushy. We should watch to see what this charismatic artist will be up to next."
Die Zauberflöte, W.A. Mozart, Wiener Statsoper:
"Paul Armin Edelmann is a very Viennese Papageno -- cute and with a beautiful voice, and he shows how to be entertaining without overdoing it."
Especially the artist playing Papageno caused a bit of a stir - it was Paul Armin Edelmann (son of the famous Otto Edelmann) making his debut at the State Opera. And a very successful debut it was, too, as Edelmann not only possesses a beautiful baritone voice, but is also a highly talented comedy actor."
(Ópera Actual, Spain)
"The sensation of the evening was Paul Armin Edelmann, who played the comical 'birdlike' figure knowing how to bring out all the qualities, nuances and expectations this role demands: a warm baritone voice, a good sense of humour, a playful talent with a good sense of acting complimented by a touch of Viennese charm."
(Brigitte Suchan, Wiener Zeitung, Austria)
Der Schauspieldirektor / Prima la Musica poi le parole/ Musikverein Wien / Nikolaus Harnoncourt:
"Franz Hawlata and Paul Armin Edelamnn were both in good voice, and both exceeded in displaying humour and spontaneity."
(Markus Hennerfeind, Wiener Zeitung, Austria)
"Excellent: the singers: Eva Mei, Patricia Petibon, Markus Schäfers (a real Mozart tenor), Paul Armin Edelmann singing with a smooth Baritone voice and Franz Hawlata possessing a profound Bass voice."
(Die Presse, Austria)
(Recital / Graffenegg, Austria)
"Paul Armin Edelmann is a baritone of exceptional class. He has sung more than 40 roles from the Operatic and Operette repertoire and also sings Oratorio and Art Song. To his recital in Graffenegg he brought a quality seldom heard in Respighi and Tosti. His voice has a rare and distinctive melting quality, a lightness, a full top, that in piano dynamics does not sound stressed. Barbara Moser not only accompanied him but helped shape and mould every song with him. A gorgeous evening!"
(Niederösterreichische Nachrichten, Austria)