The Lost Romantic - Songs of Louise Reichardt. © 2018 MSR Classics

CD Spotlight

The Darling of Hamburg

GERALD FENECH listens to
songs by Louise Reichardt

'Amy Pfrimmer's singing is supremely warm and refreshing, and the innocent beauty of these songs is brought out in bright, luminous textures.'

 

Louise Reichardt (1779-1826), an extraordinary influential musical figure of the German romantic movement, was born in a household brimming with music, literature, poetry and political discussion. At the end music held sway. No surprise really, as Louise's musical lineage included both her grandfathers who served as court musicians to Frederick the Great, and her parents were also of the same artistic genre.

Tragically, life was very cruel, and before finding stability sometime after 1810 in Hamburg, Louise had to experience the death of her mother when still a young child, and the dismissal of her father from court without a pension because of his outspoken political opinions. Because of the latter events, family finances suffered severely and she was compelled to find some form of work to help the dire situation.

Her youthful romantic adventures also ended in despair after two different fiances died unexpectedly.

It was after all these hammer blows that she finally decided to strike out alone for Hamburg, where she managed to support herself and assist her family by teaching music lessons. She lived in this city till the very end, and by the time of her early demise in 1826, aged forty-seven, Louise had managed to forge an enviable reputation as composer, teacher and conductor. Indeed, when her death was announced, the city was gripped by a wave of grief that was unprecedented. She was truly the darling of Hamburg.

Her fame as a composer rests solely on her songs, of which some ninety were published during her lifetime. The pieces selected for this recording are grouped by the poets who formed Reichardt's circle of friends, and each composition is a miniature jewel that emphasizes Reichardt's talent for writing sweet, lyrical melodies that unite expressive, melodic text setting and demanding legato line.

Listen — Louise Reichardt: Ombre amene, amiche piante (Sei Canzoni Metastasio)
(track 1, 0:00-1:00) © 2018 Amy Pfrimmer :

The pieces are graceful, elegant, delicate and charming, and display both German and Italian stylistic elements as well as influences of Mozart and Schubert.

Listen — Louise Reichardt: Hymnen an die Nacht
(track 11, 0:00-0:49) © 2018 Amy Pfrimmer :

Amy Pfrimmer's singing is supremely warm and refreshing, and the innocent beauty of these songs is brought out in bright, luminous textures. Dreux Montegut plays sympathetically throughout.

Listen — Louise Reichardt: Die Blume der Blumen
(track 19, 1:49-2:39) © 2018 Amy Pfrimmer :

An invaluable disc, focusing on one of Germany's hidden romantic names so unjustly neglected. A revelatory discovery in clean sound and attractive presentation, albeit short on playing time.

Copyright © 8 June 2019 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta

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CD INFORMATION: THE LOST ROMANTIC - SONGS OF LOUISE REICHARDT

READ MORE ABOUT LOUISE REICHARDT

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