Swan Song from Baritone Wolfgang Holzmair
Monday, August 11, 2014
More than 20 years after his New York debut at The Frick Collection, and after performing nearly 1,600 times across the globe, Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair is on his farewell tour.
Since the 1980s, Holzmair has led a varied career of orchestral and opera appearances, but has always felt most at home performing a song recital. When he was invited back to the Frick to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of Concerts from the Frick Collection, Holzmair wanted to sing an intimate program that reflected a range of emotions. Joined by pianist Russell Ryan, Holzmair performed Franz Schubert’s final song cycle Schwanengesang, or "Swan Song."
In Schwanengesang, Schubert set 14 poems by three different poets. For full texts and translations, click the link below. Most of the songs in the first half are by German poet Ludwig Rellstab. The final six songs are settings of dark, intimate texts by Heinrich Heine. The first song, Taubenpost, is based on a poem by Johann Gabriel Seidl, and is thought to be the last song Franz Schubert ever composed.
In his New York Times review of the performance, critic Zachery Woolfe wrote that "Mr. Holzmair, now in his 60s, handled the variety with a unifying tone of acceptance cut through with granitic vehemence, like the embers of a dying fire."
Full concert program:
Franz Schubert: Schwanengesang, D. 957:
Im Freien, D 880
Herbst, D 945
In der Ferne*
Schwanengesang, D 744*
-- Wolfgang Holzmair, baritone with Russell Ryan, piano
* Included in edited radio program above. Full concert audio is below.