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Subject: Pregardien proves near perfect in DC return recital (2/24/18)
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 25 Feb 2018 09:06:11 -0500

text/plain (56 lines)

Last night, Vocal Arts DC brought back tenor Christoph Pregardien, this time with pianist Julius Drake, for the third time in it's existence, however it has been close to two decades since his last visit to DC. The now, 62 year old can be described as only more seasoned and nuanced, as this was a near perfect lieder recital, very much in the vein of Ms. Roschmann's  just over two weeks earlier in the same series.

“Auf der Bruck”
“Der liebliche Stern”
“Im Walde”
“Um Mitternacht”
“Im Frühling”
“An mein Herz”
“Tiefes Leid”
“Über Wildemann”
“Daß sie hier gewesen”
“Du bist die Ruh”
“Im Walde” (“Waldes-Nacht”)
“Nacht und Träume”
“Totengräbers Heimweh”
“Der Winterabend”

I did find it odd that there was a music stand (albeit with just the words) out front since this team has recorded and played this concert numerous times, but then there were indeed a LOT of words. The opening "Auf der Bruck" was agitated and the piano was appropriately matching that in the scene, then we moved to serene with a beautiful juxtaposition in "Die liebliche sterne." While this was indeed all one composer, there was no way you could say the program was stagmant or unvaried, it took us to new heights with the variations and internal push. "Im Walde" captured the yearning and searching of the singer and indeed each song painted a different scene that had our tenor truly living it for us.

Speaking of tenor, the voice is not worn or old, as I said just seasoned, and in the second half's "Du bist die Ruh" there was a magnificent two note rise on "allein erhelt" that was so blissful it transported us to another truly peaceful place.

Placing the last two songs as they were seemed confusing to me at first as "Totengrabers Heimweh"(Gravedigger's homesickness) is an intense song that seems more suited to the finale, but the ensuing "Der Winterabend" (Winter evening) was so laid back and calm, it became an intense journey of pleasure. The final chords on the piano were lovingly caressed and indeed, Mr. Drake let his hands sit on the piano for quite some time before letting them rise as the applause began; it almost seemed like forever and has us soaking in those last tones for more time.

We now have surtitles, which everyone agrees is an asset, but I did think I noticed a stanza cut here and there from some of the texts? Sadly at the end of "An mein Herz" there was a 10 second glitch with the titles, but quickly fixed.

Ruckert's "Dass sue hier gewesen" (They that were here) had me truly pondering the loss this week of one of our best friends, and indeed I was almost in tears. It was a most moving evening of great song.

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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