Two renowned tenor greats go on a special discovery: René Kollo and Jay Alexander sing evening songs by Schubert, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann. The well-known songs from the Romantic era have all been newly arranged for string orchestra and produced in the studio for the first time in this form. The unique album, which will be released on February 11, 2022, combines two renowned voices that complement each other exquisitely in their diversity. The two singers can be heard in duet and solo, creating a whole new listening experience of these songs.

Alexander and Kollo were enthusiastic about the collaboration. “Despite his great experience, René Kollo does not convey the feeling that he is above things. Rather, he was full of enthusiasm and energy, and you immediately felt: the music is the focus,” Jay Alexander reports of the recording. René Kollo underlines the good partnership with his tenor colleague: “Jay does one side, I do the other. I thought that was good. I’d heard him on TV a couple of times, and each time I said: he knows what he is doing.”

The tenors each associate a very unique story with the songs. Jay Alexander’s parents sang Brahms’ Lullaby to him as a child, and he has passed it on to his own children. René Kollo describes himself as a romantic through and through. For him the lyrics especially are of great relevance; they are the origin from which the musicality emanates. To him, “‘Die Winterreise’ by Schubert is a revolutionary song, one that attacks. It’s a song of communism and revolution!” And even “Der Wanderer an den Mond,” often presented as a devotional art song, acquires a folksong-like feel in Kollo’s interpretation.

Both tenors have sung an enormous range of repertoire. René Kollo is not only one of the most legendary Wagner tenors of the 20th century, he also opens himself to the so-called lighter muse. “The fact that you have to sing Schlager so light and easy, people never think about that, but it’s not that easy!” he says. Romantic songs, on the other hand, have a very special place in his heart: “I have always given many song recitals. I have traveled all over the world with Irwin Gage, who was one of the best song accompanists. Perhaps I didn’t give songs quite the attention they deserve, because I was always so busy with the big opera projects and recordings. But is there anything more beautiful than “Winterreise” or “Dichterliebe”? No!”

“Romantic Evening Songs,” recorded with the Central German Chamber Orchestra, delights with songs such as Schubert’s “Im Abendrot,” “An den Mond,” Mendelssohn’s “Nachtlied” and “Der Mond,” as well as Schumann’s “Mondnacht” and Brahms’ “Wiegenlied.” For Jay Alexander, the collaboration with the orchestra was particularly intense: “You are able to immerse yourself in these songs in a completely different way and embed your voice; it was a beautiful atmosphere. The orchestra interpreted in such a differentiated and sensitive way – you could feel that the musicians also put their heart and soul into it.” The result is an album with music that resembles a dreamlike walk on a starry night.

Romantische Abendlieder René Kollo & Jay Alexander & Mitteldeutsches Kammerorchester

Artist

Mitteldeutsches Kammerorchester

Composer

Edward Elgar

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Franz Schubert

Johannes Brahms

Jules Massenet

Further information

Genre

Lied (Kunstlied)

Publication date:

11.02.2022



Two renowned tenor greats go on a special discovery: René Kollo and Jay Alexander sing evening songs by Schubert, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann. The well-known songs from the Romantic era have all been newly arranged for string orchestra and produced in the studio for the first time in this form. The unique album, which will be released on February 11, 2022, combines two renowned voices that complement each other exquisitely in their diversity. The two singers can be heard in duet and solo, creating a whole new listening experience of these songs.

Alexander and Kollo were enthusiastic about the collaboration. "Despite his great experience, René Kollo does not convey the feeling that he is above things. Rather, he was full of enthusiasm and energy, and you immediately felt: the music is the focus," Jay Alexander reports of the recording. René Kollo underlines the good partnership with his tenor colleague: "Jay does one side, I do the other. I thought that was good. I'd heard him on TV a couple of times, and each time I said: he knows what he is doing."

The tenors each associate a very unique story with the songs. Jay Alexander's parents sang Brahms' Lullaby to him as a child, and he has passed it on to his own children. René Kollo describes himself as a romantic through and through. For him the lyrics especially are of great relevance; they are the origin from which the musicality emanates. To him, "'Die Winterreise' by Schubert is a revolutionary song, one that attacks. It's a song of communism and revolution!" And even "Der Wanderer an den Mond," often presented as a devotional art song, acquires a folksong-like feel in Kollo's interpretation.

Both tenors have sung an enormous range of repertoire. René Kollo is not only one of the most legendary Wagner tenors of the 20th century, he also opens himself to the so-called lighter muse. "The fact that you have to sing Schlager so light and easy, people never think about that, but it's not that easy!" he says. Romantic songs, on the other hand, have a very special place in his heart: "I have always given many song recitals. I have traveled all over the world with Irwin Gage, who was one of the best song accompanists. Perhaps I didn't give songs quite the attention they deserve, because I was always so busy with the big opera projects and recordings. But is there anything more beautiful than "Winterreise" or "Dichterliebe"? No!"

"Romantic Evening Songs," recorded with the Central German Chamber Orchestra, delights with songs such as Schubert's "Im Abendrot," "An den Mond," Mendelssohn's "Nachtlied" and "Der Mond," as well as Schumann's "Mondnacht" and Brahms' "Wiegenlied." For Jay Alexander, the collaboration with the orchestra was particularly intense: "You are able to immerse yourself in these songs in a completely different way and embed your voice; it was a beautiful atmosphere. The orchestra interpreted in such a differentiated and sensitive way - you could feel that the musicians also put their heart and soul into it." The result is an album with music that resembles a dreamlike walk on a starry night.

More videos from René Kollo & Jay Alexander & Mitteldeutsches Kammerorchester

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René Kollo & Jay Alexander: Der Mond ist aufgegangen (Offizielles Musikvideo) #BerlinClassics
René Kollo & Jay Alexander -  Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gut’ Nacht (Offizielles Musikvideo)
René Kollo & Jay Alexander - Romantische Abendlieder (Offizieller Albumtrailer)

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