Flo­rian Boesch

BBC Music Magazine - - Bbc Music Magazine Awards -

Schu­mann • Mahler Lieder

Flo­rian Boesch (bari­tone), Mal­colm Martineau (pi­ano) Linn CKD 511

Why do you think Mahler was drawn to the song cy­cle?

There is noth­ing more pow­er­ful than words be­ing turned into sounds; he un­der­stood that. The union of words and mu­sic cre­ates some­thing po­etic that you can­not achieve an­other way. It’s some­thing that hap­pens strongly with Mahler in gen­eral, but par­tic­u­larly here; some­thing emerges that hasn’t been vis­i­ble be­fore. If you try to read his text alone it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but it is mes­meris­ing when com­bined with the mu­sic. De­spite his huge sym­phonies, he never gave up the hu­man voice and his lan­guage.

Why pair these two com­posers?

I wanted to show that what Schu­mann sug­gests to us is very clearly de­vel­oped in the Mahler. Both put the hu­man con­di­tion un­der the mag­ni­fy­ing glass.

You’ve en­joyed a long part­ner­ship with pi­anist Mal­colm Martineau. What’s the se­cret to a suc­cess­ful duo?

Mal­colm’s ge­nius helps! There is an el­e­ment of trust, un­der­stand­ing and com­mon sense about the mu­sic. We speak a lot about mu­sic and po­etry when we’re walk­ing in the woods, but when we sit to­gether and make mu­sic we don’t speak so much any­more; the mu­sic, and our un­der­stand­ing, takes over. It’s very in­stinc­tive; we in­vite each other, all the time, to come up with the in­spi­ra­tion of the mo­ment, and not work to a plan. Some­times it’s prob­lem­atic; we can never record the same song the next day and try to patch some­thing in, be­cause it won’t be even close to what we did the day be­fore.

You recorded at Crear on the West coast of Scot­land; a suit­ably re­mote lo­ca­tion for this ma­te­rial!

I re­mem­ber it well; it was a stun­ning place. We recorded it in a con­verted sheep barn fac­ing the sea, and you could see the Isle of Jura. It was quite amaz­ing how very quickly this place trans­formed your mem­ory. There, it was much eas­ier to for­get all the ex­ist­ing record­ings you’d heard of Schu­mann’s Op. 39 – it sug­gested to us to do some­thing that was as dis­con­nected as that place was from our cul­tural world. It was very in­spir­ing and I en­joyed record­ing there very much.

Spon­ta­neous tal­ent: Flo­rian Boesch sings Mahler and Schu­mann

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