Hugo Wolf

Orchesterlieder & Penthesilea

Benjamin Appl, Jenaer Philharmonie, Simon Gaudenz

1 CD

'I am too cowardly to be a proper composer,' Hugo Wolf confessed to a Viennese friend when he was barely 28 years old. And the result of his introspection was not so wrong: everything in his life, not only composing, proceeded in explosive spurts. He wandered through the deepest emotional valleys, suddenly flew up into the highest regions, suffered agonies when he couldn't think of anything to say, shouted his enthusiasm about a successful piece to the whole world and still managed to produce a respectable, albeit fragmentary oeuvre, from which the early poem Penthesilea after Heinrich von Kleist's tragedy of the same name stands out as a symphonic masterpiece. The Austrian baritone Benjamin Appl and the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, led by its principal conductor Simon Gaudenz, have prefaced this highly dramatic monolith with twelve selected songs, most of which were orchestrated by their author himself: a dozen small, finely polished gems based on texts by Goethe, Mörike and Heyse, whose subtle arrangements leave no doubt that Hugo Wolf would certainly have had the makings of a 'proper composer'. Whether then, of course, the ingenious things would have been created that posterity owes to him - that is another matter.