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Bretan 'My Lieder-Land' The Songs Volume 1



This, the first of two volumes of selections from "My Lieder-Land", comprises 22 songs, mostly to Romanian texts. Most of these were recorded live in concert and feature one of the world's foremost interpreters of Bretan's Lieder, the baritone, Ludovic Konya.

The Romanian composer Nicolae Bretan occupies a special niche in the history of Western music. In his several operas and prodigious number of art songs, Bretan looked to the essential nature of song itself, and to the capabilities of the human voice in regard to its expressive functions and possibilities. In this sense he can be compared to Gluck, and also, in the directness and "natural" qualities of his musical language, to Mussorgsky.

The rediscovery of Bretan and the revival of his music today are important for two reasons. The need for atonement - for the political injustice done to the man himself, in his own country and as an artist - is fairly obvious. But the recovery of his works is a cultural obligation we all must share, as we must with respect to all of Western culture's great artistic creations.

A new biography Nicolae Bretan, His Life - His Music by Hartmut Gagelmann, translated by Beaumont Glass, is available from Pendragon Press (ISBN 1-57647-021-0) .

Bretan 'My Lieder-Land' The Songs Volume 1


It’s the melodic inventiveness and the direct communicative approach of the songs that go direct to the heart of the listener. After a few songs one has learnt his very suggestive way of turning a phrase, but that doesn’t mean that he is predictable. His songs are like the best folksongs: immediately appealing, simple but organically connected with the words. Having listened to five volumes of Bretan’s songs I have to say that I have been immersed in his tonal world and it still fascinates me as much as it did when I heard the first few of them.

Practically every song has something special about it but it is natural that one gets favourites.Inima(tr. 1), for instance, strophic, extremely beautiful;On the Hill of Feleac(tr. 6);Forget Your World(tr. 7), like a revival hymn, the lullabyAt my Son’s Cradle(tr. 9), the powerful and intenseNight Passage for Carts(tr. 14),When Memories …(tr. 19), where the singer’s long legato phrases are impressive andSleepy Little Birds(tr. 21). There is nothing artificial about these songs, and the readings are also very much alive, enhanced no doubt by the presence of an audience on most of the tracks.

Göran Forsling,