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AUF dem WASSER zu SINGEN, 
an amazingly beautiful song by Franz Schubert, Op 72 (D 774)
a drop dead gorgeous piano transcription by Franz Liszt



I first heard "Auf dem Wasser zu singen" in the piano transcription by Franz Liszt, and fell hopelessly in love. It was a recording by Jorge Bolet, not the fabulous one you will find below. I have since heard many others, a number of which can also be heard below, and with almost each new performance I am convinced that this latest one is THE one. The same happens when I hear the vocal versions and this song remains what may well be my greatest source of musical pleasure.

There is a huge range of interpretive difference between many of these performances, a wide range of tempi are chosen by pianists and singers alike and it is fascinating to discover how much liberty one can take and still make it work. Yes, I know, there will be those of you who will be tempted to judge what you hear by the one wonderful performance you carry with you in your hearts. But I urge you to listen with open minds and ears. There is so much to be enjoyed.

Today, my favorites are Lisa della Casa, Jorge Bolet, Frieda Hempel, Vladimir Sofronitsky, Irmgard Seefried, Egon Petri, and of course Hermann Prey and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. What wouldn't I give for a recording of Hans Hotter singing this song.

There are many other fine performances and several which, while not entirely satisfying, still offer some valid ideas. There is only one that leaves me cold in spite of the beautiful playing and that is the performance by Yuja Wang in which I find myself enamored of the technical proficiency and wondering what happened to the essence of the music.

I give some of my favorites first. I'm not trying to influence you, of course, just want to make sure you don't miss them in case you have time for only a few. But if you find this music as beautiful as i do, you will want to hear them all, twice.

And at the very end, for those of you with an open ear . . .



MARGARET PRICE, Welsh soprano
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano

Geheimnis, An Franz Schubert
02:28 Romanze
06:20  Auf dem Wasser zu singen

recorded in 1971




JORGE BOLET
Cuban-American pianist (1914-1990)

recorded in 1983




ELLY AMELING, Dutch soprano
Rudolf Jansen, piano




LISA DELLA CASA, Swiss soprano
Karl Hudez, piano

recorded in 1957




HERMANN PREY, German baritone
Leonard Hokanson, piano

recorded in 1957




VLADIMIR SOFRONITSKY
Russian pianist  (1901-1961)

recorded live in 1955




FRIEDA HEMPEL, German soprano
Bruno Seidler-Winkler, piano

recorded in 1935




DIETRICH FISCHER-DIESKAU, German baritone
Gerald Moore, piano

recorded in 1958




EGON PETRI
Dutch-German pianist (1881-1961)

recorded in 1929




IRMGARD SEEFRIED, German soprano
Gerald Moore, piano

recorded in 1948




DIETRICH HENSCHEL, German bass-baritone
Helmut Deutsch, piano




EVGENY KISSIN
Russian pianist (b 1971)




ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF, German-Austrian-British soprano
Edwin Fischer, piano

recorded in 1952




DAVID DANIELS, American countertenor
Martin Katz, piano

recorded in 1999




SERGEY KOUDRIAKOV
Russian pianist (b 1978)




BRIGITTE FASSBAENDER, German mezzo-soprano
Erik Werba, piano

recorded in 1974




Bryn Terfel, bass baritone
Llyr Williams, piano

[I include this excerpt because it is the only example I could find by a bass baritone, and his is a glorious voice.]




SERGEI LEMESHEV, Russian tenor




BRIGITTE ENGERER
French pianist (1952-2012)




ANNELIESE ROTHENBERGER, German soprano
Günther Weissenborn, piano




IAN BOSTRIDGE, English tenor
Julius Drake, piano

recorded in 1998




BERTRAND CHAMAYOU
French pianist (b 1981)

video recorded in 2014




BARBARA BONNEY, American soprano
Geoffrey Parsons, piano




SASHA CHERKAS, Belarussian treble




NATALYA LUNDTVEDT
contemporary Belarussian pianist

recorded in 2011




ELENA GERHARDT, German mezzo-soprano




NAUM SHTARKMAN, Sovei-Russian pianist




ELIZABETH SCHUMANN, German-American soprano




ADELE GRABOWSKI, mezzo-soprano
Lucas Barkley, piano

video recorded in 2013




MARIA NEMTSOVA
Russian Pianist (b 1984)

"Gretchen am Spinnrade"
04:00  "Auf dem Wasser zu singen"

video recorded in 2010




LUCIA POPP, Czeck soprano
Irwin Gage, piano

recorded in 1983




DENYS MASLIUK
Ukranian pianist (b 1978)

2008 Video




VESSELINA KASAROVA, Bulgarian mezzo-soprano
Friedrich Haider, piano

recorded in 1999




IDIL BIRET
Turkish pianist
 (b 1941)

recorded in 2011




Dame JANET BAKER, English mezzo-soprano
Geoffrey Parsons, piano

recorded in 1980




GABRIELE SEIDEL-HELL
contemporary German pianist




CHRISTA LUDWIG, German mezzo-soprano
Geoffrey Parsons, piano

recorded in 1961




BODA BALÁZS
contemporary Hungarian pianist

recorded in 2011




CHERYL STUDER, contemporary American soprano




CATHERINE van LOO
contemporary Belgian pianist




FRIDA LEIDER, German soprano
Michael Raucheisen, piano

recorded in 1943




JURA MARGULIS
Russian-German pianist (b 1968)




KARITA MATTILA, Finnish soprano
Ilmo Ranta, piano




DANIIL TRIFONOV
Russian pianist (b 1991)

followed by "The Trout" 03:47




ELIZABETH GRÜMMER, German soprano
Gerald Moore, piano




YUJA WANG
contemporary Chinese pianist

recorded live in 2010




ELISABETH EBERT, German soprano
Dieter Zechlin, piano




RENÉE FLEMING, American soprano
Christoph Eschenbach , piano

recorded in 1997




MURRAY PERAHIA
American pianist (b 1947)




BARBARA STREISAND










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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