Schoenberg & Bodley: Vocal Works


Catalogue No: MSV 28560
EAN/UPC: 809730856020
Artists: ,
Composers: ,
Release Date: March 2017
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 66:57

Schoenberg’s seminal vocal work ‘Das Buch der hängenden Gärten’ often just referred to as Opus 15, was composed in 1908-1909 – years in which he had taken dissonance to new limits, and turned completely to atonality. This cycle is often regarded as the first major modernist vocal work. It is a setting of poems by Stefan George which tell of a love affair taking place in an exotic oriental garden – full of emotional pictures, never naturalistic ones —
forboding, sensual imagery, repressed longings and intense passion.

“A Girl” is a cycle of 22 settings by Seóirse Bodley of poems by Brendan Kennelly and was commissioned by Radio Telefis Eireann and first performed in 1978. It tells of a pregnant girl unable to cope with the humiliation she suffers in a conservative and repressive society. Highly varied, the songs bring to the fore numbers of different emotions. The composer, at age 83, is amongst the most senior and foremost of Irish composers with 5 full symphonies (2 recorded by Naxos) and dozens of other works.

Aylish Kerrigan is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary Irish vocal music, and of Brecht, and her one-woman Broadway-style shows won acclaim when given in New York, Paris, Berlin and Dublin. Her accompanist Dearbhla Collins has performed worldwide especially in German lieder, contemporary art song and theatre music.

Track Listing

Arnold Schoenberg: Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Op. 15

    1. I. Unterm schutz von dichten blattergrunden (2:17)
    2. II.Hain in diesen paradiesen (1:26)
    3. III. Als neuling trat ich ein in dein gehege (1:48)
    4. IV. Da meine lippen reglos sind und brennen (1:26)
    5. V. Saget mir, auf welchem pfade (1:10)
    6. VI. Jedem werke bin ich fur der tot (1:13)
    7. VII. Angst und hoffen wechselnd mich beklemmen (1:00)
    8. VIII. Wenn ich heut nicht deinen leib beruhre (0:50)
    9. IX. Streng ist uns das gluck und sprode (1:32)
    10. X. Das schone beet betracht ich mir im harren (2:23)
    11. XI. Als wir hinter dem beblumten tore (2:33)
    12. XII. Wenn sich bei heiliger ruh in tiefen matten (2:08)
    13. XIII. Du lehnest wider eine silberweide am ufer (1:46)
    14. XIV, Sprich nicht immer Von der Laub (0:53)
    15. XV. Wir bevolkerten die abenddustern (5:12)

Seoírse Bodley: A Girl

  1. I. November Cloud (1:42)
  2. II. The Room (1:42)
  3. III. Familiar Things (2:34)
  4. IV. Lies (2:52)
  5. V. Polka (1:53)
  6. VI. Evil (1:48)
  7. VII. Bird’s Wings (1:56)
  8. VIII. Are women the only beings who feel? (1:49)
  9. IX. The moment I found I was nothing (1:11)
  10. X. The Puzzle (1:12)
  11. XI. The Dogs of Darkness (1:15)
  12. XII. Summer (1:07)
  13. XIII. Darkness (2:48)
  14. XIV. Sweetest Postures of the Heart (1:29)
  15. XV. All things move towards peace (1:40)
  16. XVI. Solitude (1:35)
  17. XVII. Possession (1:16)
  18. XVIII. The Slaughterer (2:18)
  19. XIX. Killers (0:59)
  20. XX. Strength (0:50)
  21. XXI. Emptiness (1:10)
  22. XXII. I am going out (3:53)


American Record Guide

Schoenberg’s bizarre Buch der Hängenden Gärten will probably never end up on anybody’s list of favorite song cycles. The vocal line is extremely, sometimes frustratingly challenging; and there is no “pay-off” for the performer at the end. Stefan George’s poems are dense with concentrated poetic images that make them difficult to penetrate. It’s hard to […]

” —David Reynolds

Aylish Kerrigan and Dearbhla Collins fascinate with a perceptive and very expressive Schoenberg interpretation. [They] express each of these nuances perfectly despite the contrasts between the songs and manage to maintain the tension of the cycle from the beginning to the end. [In the Bodley] they create a ghostlike scenario from individual images that mesmerizes the listener completely. One should not miss this first class recording.

” —Tanja Geschwind

This is a most impressive coupling from Irish-American mezzo Aylish Kerrigan, who has previously won plaudits from Fanfare critics. Kerrigan’s performance is impeccable in the way she moulds the melodic lines with such affection. There are songs of extreme beauty here. The recording is supremely produced and engineered.

” —Colin Clarke

The pairing of these two contemporary song cycles makes for an exceptionally strong program, and the works are interpreted by mezzo-soprano Aylish Kerrigan and pianist Dearbhla Collins with extraordinary commitment, skill, and style. Excellent sound and a meticulous attention to nuance and detail.”

” —Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
The Chronicle

We dipped our toes into the waters of Arnold Schoenberg and came up smiling. This does create an atmosphere, stimulates your brain and is surprisingly enjoyable. Aylish Kerrigan and Dearbhla Collins bring out the warmth in the music; it could be jarring but never is.

” —Jeremy Condliffe