Released in 2013
- Frauenliebe und Leben: 7. An meinen Herzen, an meiner Brust Carina Vinke; Hanna Shybayeva 1:27
- Frauenliebe und Leben: 8. Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan Carina Vinke; Hanna Shybayeva 4:00
Released in 2008
- 01 Las Morillas de Jaén 1 4:19
Most notable at symphony orchestras at home and abroad, is the constantly growing decrease of the repertoire and the concentration on nearly just the pieces de resistance, while at many solo or duo debuts an opposite tendency exactly is perceived. It is not that well-known works are avoided, but they are combined with challenging and less well-known or even totally unknown
pieces. In this time of cultural degradation, it is an extremely satisfying tendency to notice. And with this in mind I would like to refer to my review of the debut CD of the duo Vinke/Shybayeva. The repertoire of Carina Vinke ranges from baroque to music of which ink is not yet dry, and what is more: she causes a furore in an impressive way in the field of opera, too. For her, Wagner’s Meistersinger, in which she was a cast member in a matinee performance with Van Zweden as conductor, has as few secrets as Boulez’ Le Marteau sans maître, or Bach’s Matthäus-Passion. Carina Vinke’s enormous versatility automatically brings to mind the name of one of her teachers, Jard van Nes, who also completely mastered all remote corners of vocal repertoire in her heyday. Including Sibelius, for whose lieder Van Nes showed a striking affinity. It is not the case that Vinke imitates Van Nes, even far from that, but because of this perfect balance between theatrical, dramatic, and technical grip on the notes which has certainly become second nature, I was reminded of Van Nes. Not only when it comes to vocal range of the two vocalists, which is quite extensive, in height as well as in depth, but also for the finest imaginable dynamic and emotional colouring, as for example in the last song of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und –Leben, to be precise in the text “nicht lebend mehr”. This is a highly moving – and thanks to Vinke’s
non-sentimental approach – and hundred percent authentic beauty. Of course, this performance does not make forget you the many other famous interpretations, but so much is clear: the one by Vinke and her excellent second Hanna Shybayeva, however, deserves its own place in the pantheon.
Love, death, and loneliness are the particular catchwords of the cycle Tranströmersånger (2010) by Swedish composer Benjamin Staern (born 1978). This work has a number of stages. In 2009, Staern completed the first version of these songs for alto and ensemble, which he dedicated to Carina Vinke, conductor Christian Karlsen, and the New European Ensemble, and
was first performed in the Netherlands, as the ensemble in question is domiciled in The Hague.
A year later Tranströmersånger was set for a bigger ensemble, especially with more depth to the intermezzi which were connecting the instruments and the songs. Then Staern arranged the version – included on this CD – for voice and piano with the instrumental intermezzi left out.
In this more concentrated and concise form, these emotional songs are very impressive. More than in their orchestral form, the music reminded me of the Vier Lieder op. 2 of Alban Berg,
not literally, but for the dark and expressionistic atmosphere. Of the four songs, the last one is a different story, and complements the final song of the Schumann cycle in a magnificent way. The illusion of a security of sorts still resonates during the postlude has made way for a complete disappearance into an almost intangible nothingness. Once again a grand interpretation by both musicians, whereby Hanna Shybayeva’s part is not in the least confined to a purely
accompanying one, on the contrary. Finally, this brings us to Scriabin. His three etudes from the op. 11-series are brought to life by this pianist in an exemplary way, and thus connect beautifully with the final piece, the four Sibelius lieder, which Vinke magisterially performed. This recording, nicely stereo but yet not
overly resonant, completes this extremely fine CD, which surely is a must. Not in the least because of the exceptionally tasteful composed programme.
It is always a pleasure to again meet with two well-known young musicians, who belong to the circle of friends since the nineties and who both gradually, but quietly and without much ado, made a career for them. Getting better acquainted this time from a distance via a CD is very pleasant because this allows you to listen to them in peace and quiet, intently and repeatedly.
Alto Carina Vinke already attracted attention at the Netherlands Youth Choir at the age of nine; she studied in The Hague, and developed her characteristic powerful voice with a wide repertoire. It ranges from Bach Passions via other oratorio to opera parts by Händel and Gluck via Verdi, Wagner and Puccini to Maxwell Davies. It will not come as a surprise that there is a lot of Mahler on her CV.
Hanna Shybayeva from dreary Minsk landed in The Hague after a start as a child prodigy with Naum Grubert, and struck me positively as a not so successful candidate at the Utrecht’s Liszt Concours. She first won the national YPP Concours, had a debut CD released with Philips, and later on more recordings with Schubert’s piano sonata and Rachmaninov’s Études-tableaux op.
33 and 39 with Brilliant Classics. She performed at the Prinsengracht festival (Amsterdam), the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vredenburg Utrecht, and the Vereeniging Concert Hall in Nijmegen.
Both musicians are members of the New European Ensemble. They have also spread their wings at international venues, and together they devote themselves here to a special recital. Special for a few reasons: in the first place, the choice of the programme which is rather surprising.
The repertoire is not very well- known or popular, nor is it easy to execute in order to gain quick success. In the second place, they give each other room, which gives the pianist the opportunity to shine separately in some surprising Préludes of Scriabin.
But how it sounds is, of course, most important. Schumann wrote Frauenliebe und -Leben during an emotional period in which the court just permitted him to marry Clara Wieck, yet her father still had ten days to lodge an appeal. The
composer selected thoughts by Chamisso, in which a woman is described who is completely devoted to her husband. It is an outspoken 19th Schumann enhances the idea that a woman’s happiness can only stand in the shade of the man.
Ironically, as Clara also had a successful career, and finally ended as breadwinner.
Vinke leads the listener with her pleasantly warm voice from the first hesitating longing via lust to disappointment in the end. Why Vinke exactly opted for the young Swedish composer Staern (1978), or why he sought her out, and made him write four songs on Tomas Tranströmer’s text for her, is not mentioned in the enclosed booklet with complete texts and an English translation.
But that they are worth getting to know better is clear from the dedicated performance. Originally, this material was meant for alto and ensemble (the New European Ensemble), but here we hear it in a striking piano reduction.
With Sibelius, we stay in Scandinavia, but only in the Swedish language. The text inspiration of Swedish nature romanticist such as Runeberg is moving, and the singer enters the domain of Söderström, Mattila and Von Otter. She sings convincingly with a present, expressive voice, and a well-developed feeling for the melodic lines, and she shows a good insight in the lyrics.
In the three early Préludes by Scriabin, Hanna Shybayeva proves to be completely comfortable with this idiom, and its Chopinesque character; she plays with a well-balanced flair.
The title of this production is taken from the final line of the final song of this recital: “I remember it as a song fallen silent, of which the strains still echo…”
The recording sounds vividly, although the song balance could have done some more justice to the grand piano.