Andrei Bondarenko sings Schumann

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Ukraine's Andrei Bondarenko sings the first four songs in Schumann's Liederkreis, Op 39, in the Song Prize final of the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

Last updated: 29 June 2011

Schumann wrote his Op 39 Liederkreis cycle, settings of poetry by Joseph von Eichendorff, in 1840, his 'year of song' when he was inspired by his marriage to Clara Wieck. 'In a Foreign Land' describes the poet's homeland, but his parents are dead and no one there remembers him. He longs for death and oblivion.

In the second song, 'Intermezzo', the poet keeps the image of his beloved in his heart, sending a beautiful song that soars towards her through the skies. In 'Forest encounter' the singer meets a fair maid travelling alone in the wood and offers to accompany her home. Too late, he realises that he is riding with the Lorelei, a sorceress who lives in a castle on a rock above the Rhine and leads men to their doom. He will never again leave the forest.

In the fourth song, 'The Silence', no-one knows how happy the poet is. Nothing is so silent as the poet's secret love - not the snow, nor the stars. If only he could fly like a bird across the sea and beyond, to heaven.

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