TO MY DISTANT BELOVEDSongs and Piano Music by Beethoven and Schumann
Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann
KINDRA SCHARICH, mezzo-soprano
JEFFREY LADEUR, piano
"Presented by MSR Classics in a warm, bright acoustic in which tones bloom as in a meticulously-engineered recital hall, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich’s and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur’s recording of music by Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann, To My Distant Beloved, is unmistakably a beginning. This is not to suggest that this is in any way a beginners’ disc. The artistry heard in these performances exhibits individual and collaborative maturity, but there are never pretensions of interpretive finality. Scharich and LaDeur approach the works on this disc with the cooperative spirit of chamber musicians, paradigms of leading and following discarded in a common pursuit of shared psychological engagement. The extraordinary talents of both performers are evident in every note of this music, but the fusion of their skills transforms this disc from a well-sung, well-played recital into a release of enduring significance in the history of recorded Art Song. These emphatically are well-sung, well-played performances. More remarkably, these are traversals of well-known music in which notes and words sound wholly new and conspicuously personal."
Joey Newsome, Voix des Arts [May 2021]
"[To My Distant Beloved is a] big and beautiful surprise from the USA... recordings of Schumann's C major Fantasy [are] a dime a dozen. But here a cleverly thought-out and implemented [interpretation] with full commitment is heard... [Scharich's] pleasant, a-typical “mezzo-like” vocal coloring immediately captivates us, and the accuracy of her approach to all the finest nuances of the compositions is admirable... We strongly recommend this recording."
Gerd Nauhaus, Robert Schumann Society [March 2021]
"The program was put together with thoughtful care... This performance of Frauenliebe und Leben is one of the best I’ve heard. Kindra Scharich gives a glowing performance of the cycle, expressing the affect of the changing moods very convincingly. From her very first phrase you know you are in the spell of a gifted storyteller-singer. Singer and pianist are in perfect accord, and the quiet intensity they convey makes this performance deeply moving... I found LaDeur’s muscular and jagged performance of [Schumann’s Fantasy] well shaped and gripping."
R. Moore, American Record Guide [September/October 2020]
"The three works here, for all their substantial differences, have a distinct musical element in common: the sixth and final song in Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, titled Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder, is directly quoted by Schumann both in the sixth song of his cycle and within the Fantasie in C... what makes the Scharich/LaDeur recording worthwhile is simply the quality of the performances... [LaDeur's performance of the Schumann Fantasie] is well-considered and often eloquent, exploring the work’s contrasting moods with considerable skill and clearly building toward the sublimity of the finale – which, like the final songs by both Schumann and Beethoven, is a capstone for the music and a summation of all the feelings it has been evoking. The fine singing and playing on this disc are its primary attractions."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2020]
"[In Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte] Scharich responds warmly to each change of phrase with delicate vibrato and a sweet tone that is a joy to hear. LaDeur’s accompaniment is both responsive to Scharich’s interpretation and musically imaginative... [In Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben] Scharich and LaDeur weave together their respective voices with skill and emotional engagement, sometimes bright and cheery, other times wistful and forlorn... [In Schumann’s Fantasie in C major] LaDeur’s playing is lyrical, bringing a different voice to each of the three movements and an emotional richness to the third."
Linda Holt, ConcertoNet [October 2020]
"Kindra Scharich and Jeffrey LaDeur have combined efforts to create a stellar recording of Beethoven and Schumann masterpieces... The result is intoxicatingly beautiful... Scharich sings gorgeously but clearly with perfect diction so that the words are heard distinctly... The recording concludes with another gift for the listener: LaDeur’s superb rendition of Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, an enjoyable but complex work meriting several listens and also to be set aside as an iconic version of this work."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [September 2020]
"This is a recording simply to enjoy from beginning to end... What can be claimed for this disc is that all three performances have a great deal to offer... In the two song cycles Scharich combines a beautiful lyric mezzo-soprano with keen interpretive insight... For his part, pianist LaDeur provides thoughtful, expressive accompaniments. The two artists are completely in sync, reflecting not only the notes but the drama that underlies them.LaDeur’s performance of Schumann’s monumental Fantasie is less volatile than some, emphasizing the music’s lyricism and poetry over its drama. This should not be taken to mean that it is in any way boring. LaDeur’s is the kind of performance that draws you in with its quiet poise, but when the climaxes come, they are powerful, in part because of the contrast. LaDeur’s playing exhibits a sensitive ear for color and balance: Melody, accompaniment, and secondary voices are all heard in perfect proportion. He has at his disposal a technique that allows for a wide variety of dynamics, particularly at quiet levels... The recorded sound is superb throughout. The balance between singer and piano is just right, and the piano sound is very natural. For any collector who is attracted to the three pieces here, this disc will provide a very satisfying listening experience."
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [September/October 2020]
"[this MSR Classics disc begins] with an expressively varied and often poetic performance of Beethoven’s precocious An die ferne Geliebte the singer and accompanist find the musical colors and emotional valences of the songs... [as] engaging as the Beethoven cycle is, it doesn’t prepare the listener for the depth and breadth of what’s to come in Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben. In a lustrous, moving performance of this widely performed cycle, Scharich and LaDeur pull off the alchemical wonder that a sequence of lieder can achieve... this account of the great cycle is both exquisitely detailed and beautifully molded to the contours of its titular theme — a woman’s love and life. Words and music merge and seem inevitably joined. Singer and pianist commune. The sum effect is at once utterly natural and arrestingly fresh... The songs, some as fleeting as a minute or two and none longer than six, may not take up much clock time. But in their assured, intuitive performances, Scharich and LaDeur create a rounded universe of a woman’s fierce and loving attachments."
Steve Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice [June 2020]
“To My Distant Beloved is the title, translated, of a program featuring the exceptional talents of mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. Together they make the necessary connections to enable us to understand the relationships among the three major works heard in this program... Kindra Scharich and Jeffrey LaDeur [convey the music] simply and eloquently"
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [June 2020]
PROGRAM NOTESMezzo-Soprano Kindra Scharich has performed more than 200 art songs in 13 languages, and enjoys the full complement of recital, concert and opera engagements. As a dedicated recitalist, she has sung at the the American Composer’s Forum, La Jolla Athenaeum, The Wagner Society, Lieder Alive and the acclaimed Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2018, Scharich sang the United States premiere of new songs by German composer Anno Schreier as a co-collaboration between Deutsche Oper Berlin and Lieder Alive. She also continued her partnership with Brazilian pianist Ricardo Ballestero in performing and recording the non-Portuguese repertoire of the great Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno, to be released in 2020, the centennial year of his death. She has collaborated extensively with the Alexander String Quartet, and in 2018 recorded In meinem Himmel: The Complete Mahler Song Cycles, a set of new transcriptions by Zakarias Grafilo (Foghorn Classics.) Enthusiastic about working with living composers, she is featured in Everyone Sang: Vocal Music of David Conte, and has premiered works by Elinor Armer, Kurt Erickson, Janis Mattox, Laurence Rosenthal and Anno Schreier. In the world of opera, Scharich has sung more than 30 roles from operas by composers ranging from Monteverdi to Philip Glass, including premiere performances of David Carlson’s Anna Karenina, Laura Kaminsky’s Today It Rains and Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves. [ www.kindrascharich.com ]
Jeffrey LaDeur is known for his for his rare blend of insight, spontaneity and approachable stage presence. Having inherited a rich tradition of communicative pianism and interpretation from Annie Sherter, a student of Vlado Perlemuter and Alfred Cortot, LaDeur has established himself as a compelling exponent of a diverse repertoire of canonical and alternative masterpieces. Also wellversed in the music of the French masters, he has a special affinity for Debussy, and in March 2018 made his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall on the centennial of the composer’s death. LaDeur, who appears regularly with orchestra and maintains a repertoire of more than 40 concertos, is the founder and artistic director of the San Francisco International Piano Festival. A chamber musician of distinction, his acclaimed collaboration with mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich has led to engagements with Lieder Alive! in San Francisco, Mendocino Music Festival and En Blanc et Noir Festival in Lagrasse, France. He has collaborated with numerous distinguished artists and ensembles, including Robert Mann, Bonnie Hampton, Ian Swensen, Axel Strauss, Geoff Nuttall and the Alexander String Quartet. An active educator, Jeffrey offers master classes frequently as guest artist in universities throughout the United States and coaches gifted pre-college piano and string ensembles at Young Chamber Musicians in Burlingame, California. LaDeur holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music in piano performance and chamber music, respectively. Jeffrey counts among his teachers Mark Edwards, Douglas Humpherys, Yoshikazu Nagai and Robert McDonald. [ www.JeffreyLaDeur.com ] [ www.sfpiano.org ]
FRAUENLIEBE UND LEBEN, OP.42
8 Songs on Poems by Adelbert v. Chamisso (1781-1838)
I. Seit ich ihn gesehen
II. Er, der Herrlichste von allen
III. Ich kann’s nicht fassen, nicht glauben
IV. Du Ring an meinem Finger
V. Helft mir, ihr Schwestern
VI. Süsser Freund, du blickest
VII. An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust
VIII. Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
AN DIE FERNE GELIEBTE, OP.98
A Song Cycle by A. Jeitteles (1794-1858)
I. Auf dem Hügel sitz ich spähend
II. Wo die Berge so blau
III. Leichte Segler in den Höhen
IV. Diese Wolken in den Höhen
V. Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au
VI. Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder
FANTASIE IN C MAJOR, OP.17
I. Durchaus fantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen; Im Legenden-Ton
II. Mäßig. Durchaus energisch
III. Langsam getragen. Durchweg leise zu halten