At 11 on a rainy Sunday morning, it’s nice not to be yelled at right off the bat, however high-brow artistically that yelling (a.k.a. Lied-recital) may be. Instead it’s nice to be eased into to a long concert-listening day with the light geniality of the Philharmonia Schrammeln Wien—that arch-Viennese ensemble on the threshold between classical and folk music from before the time when a strict distinction was made.
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 1 ) • An Introduction
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 2 ) • Prégardien Père et Fils
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 3 ) • Belcea Quartet & Thomas Quasthoff
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 4 ) • Belcea Quartet & Till Fellner
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 5 ) • Diana Damrau & Xavier de Maistre
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 6 ) • Lemony Bostridge, Lascivious Röschmann
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 7 ) • Hagen Quartett II
>Notes from the 2013 Schubertiade ( 8 ) • Andreas Scholl & Tamar Halperin
German Dances by Schubert in their arrangement for violins, high G clarinet (Viennese name: “Treacle-Stick”), contraguitar, and button accordion calmed the soul that had been painfully stirred by insidious background muzak in the hotel’s breakfast room (most perniciously a Pachelbel Canon apparently played by an uninspired student on an electric piano). Those dances set the mood for when Angelika Kirchschlager waltzed on stage, strutting a Dirndl as befits her Salzburg-native self and the occasion. She needed two Schubert songs (“Heimliches Lieben” and “Erlafsee”) to get into things, after a breathy start that sounded strident in the higher notes. But personality goes a long way to mediate, and hers brought across that high- and low-brow distinction-shattering naturalness.
Then came “Die Unterscheidung” and—Presto!—she was in the grove and wouldn’t leave it. “Im Frühling” showed that the Schrammel-treatment—unlike the harp- or harmonizing treatment—enhanced these works very considerably; perfectly suited to this music of beauty, wit, and wistful smirk.
Joseph Lanner’s “Dampf-Walzer” was a cute interlude before it continued with more Schubert songs, among which “Florio” took the cordially same-ish air out and turned it briefly into one of bitter-sweet somberness. “Der Musensohn” was cancelled outright, because—as Kirschlager charmingly, refreshingly-honestly conveyed—the artists had started to rehearse a bit too late and then couldn’t find a workable tempo to pull it off. Her darling Salzburg-earnestness continued to show through the rest of the morning—especially the Wienerlied-compilation during which she believably mimed the seediness and seductive shadiness that the Viennese make part of their language.
So unpretentious, charming, and refreshing was the whole affair, that mistakes, infelicities, or the creaking among of performers, songs, and instrumental pieces—including the unholy potpourri-piece of everything vaguely Viennese and Imperially-Royally Austrian, named “Verklungenes Alt-Österreich”—didn’t detract: it added.