Joined at the HIP – a new recording of Schumann’s Dicterliebe

Neal Peres Da Costa, Piano, and Koen Van Stade, Tenor
Sung in German
Deux-Elles classical recording label, UK

Total playing time 28 mins 56 sec

This historically informed performance (HIP) of Dicterliebe, Robert Schumann’s most famous song cycle, was recorded in Sydney over three days. But it was years in the making.

Richard spoke to Neal Peres Da Costa about the new recording of Dicterliebe. The interview includes excerpts of the recording.

Neal Peres Da Costa grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and went to the University of Sydney music department, where he developed a love of historical performance, on which he is a world-renowed performer and scholar. He holds the title of Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Historical Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney.

Koen Van Stade grew up in The Netherlands, married an Australian and now lives in Sydney, where he is vocal and organ tutor at Sydney Grammar School. It was his interest in 19th century singing which led to Professor Peres Da Costa inviting him to do a PhD on the subject.

Professor Peres Da Costa says, ‘Historically informed performance or HIP, or nowadays is sometimes known as historically inspired performance, is … looking at how music was performed in the past, reimagining it, investigating the artefacts that are left from the past – not just the score of the music, but the instruments that might have been used, in this case, how the voice might have been used, and also the expressive, I guess, practices that people used in order to bring that music to life.’

Of Dichterliebe, he says, ‘a whole gamut of emotions are explored during the song cycle, but absolutely exquisite music…Schumann is just really wonderful at painting the words of the text.’

The three days of recording in the Verbruggen Hall at the Conservatorium was the culmination of about four years of background work, spearheaded by Van Stade’s PhD research on 19th century bel canto (beautiful singing).

This new recording of a classic work demonstrates the virtuosity of both artists. The printed and digital booklets include Heinrich Heine’s poems in German and English, and the notes will be of interest to afficionados of art song as well as people new to the work who just want to listen to a great performance.