Today we have another worthy unknown in the person of Bernhard Sekles (1872-1934) and an album of his Lieder (Toccata Classics TOCC 0651). Contained within this program are a rather bracing set of songs adeptly handled by tenor Malte Muller and pianist Werner Neinrich Schmitt. The beautifully burnished, tonefully tuneful tenor joins with a heroically dashing piano brilliance and finely gradated coloring for some rewarding performances of which doubtless the compsier would have approved.
Sekles was in his lifetime a prominent Late Romantic and a staple of music education in Frankfurt. Among his composition pupils were Hindemith and Adorno. He composed successfully in all mediums and his songs were among the most acclaimed of his time. He set up the first Jazz curriculum in Germany and for that was banned when the Nazis took power in 1933. He subsequently died of tuberculosis the following year.
The lieder featured in this rewarding set included his most acclaimed song cycle, the 1907 “Aus dem Shi-king,” but all represented here impress with inventive and well-wrought significance. They all deserve your attention and as first recordings they are happily finally here for us to appreciate in the years to come. Bravo Muller, Schmitt and all concerned.
If you like Lieder from this period this is a real find. Very recommended.