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Who is not moved by the first scent of Spring? Who does not enjoy the view of Winter fields that begin to recover and who does not eagerly look forward to the promise of Summer, inspiring flowers to awake anew, to open wide their eyes and then to be shocked, almost by surprise, by the last attempt of Winter to regain power, before yielding to the increasing strength of the Sun?

It is the change of Winter into Spring, and Spring itself that have inspired Lied-composers of all times to put their artistic juices to work and create Songs for Voice and Piano, whereby they could draw on a rich supply of poems put to paper by famous and/or less well known poets. These poets, such as Heine, Verlaine and Mörike, were, in their turn, inspired by the same phenomenon of Nature, obviously transposing it into themes such as Fate, the Cyclicality of Life and Unattainable Love.

Soprano Nienke Oostenrijk and pianist Laura de Lange have carefully selected some of the most appealing Lieder, which they have recorded for this CD, L’Hiver a cessé (Winter has Ended).
Central in the selection is Viola, a relatively unknown, narrative Lied, describing the premature awakening of a Violet, which falls prey to the return of short lived but harsh winter conditions, leading to her untimely death. The melancholic character of Viola extends into the subsequent songs composed by Grieg, Mendelssohn, Wolf and Fauré, whereby the title song L’Hiver a cessé marks the transition to songs by the same composers, now more exuberant, enlighted and with glimmers of hope for a better time, Spring and ultimately Summer!

Soprano Nienke Oostenrijk and pianist Laura de Lange have been working together since 2010, when Laura invited Nienke to contribute to her project to perform the compositions of her forefathers Daniel and Samuel de Lange.
This co-operation inspired both musicians to compose a Lieder program which they successfully performed during a number of years on various stages in The Netherlands. The recording of this program, L’Hiver a cessé, concludes their inspiring journey through the last days of Winter Wonderland lost in Springtime Reveries.

The making of L’Hiver a cessé has stimulated Nienke to re-engage with Marianne Boer, a pianist with whom she has worked ever since the mid nineties. Together they have recently recorded a second CD titled “Ladies Only”, which will be released by Cobra Records in September 2016

Fragment “Zitronenfalter im April”, M
örike-Lieder nr. 18
(Hugo Wolf)

Fragment “L’Hiver a cessé, op. 61 nr. 9 (Gabriël Fauré)

Fragment Foraarsregn op. 49 nr. 6, (Edvard Grieg)

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Foto: Nienke Oostenrijk tijdens een uitvoering in het stadhuis in Rotterdam in het bijzijn van burgemeester Aboutaleb