The lied is the most personal art form in music: a direct expression of personality not protected by any costumes, make-up, or instrument. Singing lieder gives you the opportunity, says Gerald Finley, “to show who you really are as a singer. […] I had the great good fortune to hear famous virtuosos of the older generation like Fischer-Dieskau, Prey and Tom Krause live. Each of them showed in his very own way how personality shapes and carries a lieder recital.” In the Chamber Music Hall of the Berliner Philharmonie, the Canadian singer, accompanied by conductor and pianist Antonio Pappano at the piano, will present – with his usual “resonant baritone voice full of nuances” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) – besides Adelaide, Beethoven’s well-known song with piano, his gloomy arietta “In questa tomba oscura” and his setting of Metastasio’s La partenza, which is like a lamento.
The programme continues with Franz Liszt’s Tre sonetti del Petrarca, whose musical expression oscillates in great modulatory diversity between vibrating exaltation and elegiac lament. The lesser-known Quattro arie scozzesi by Ottorino Respighi are from quite a different range of expression: Scottish folk tunes characterised by pentatonics and “Scotch snap”. Scottish bagpipes can also be heard in the Chanson écossaise from Maurice Ravel’s Chants populaires, a collection of folk songs, while the sarcastic setting of Robert Burns’s MacPherson’s Farewell at the centre of Shostakovich’s Six Romances is a typical example of the Russian composer’s distinct black humour; selected lieder by Paolo Tosti conclude the recital atmospherically.