Lieder ohne Worte
Robert Schumann

Lieder ohne Worte

Martin Stegner | Tomoko Takahashi

Label: Phil.Harmonie
Format: CD
Barcode: 4250317416025
Catalog number: PHIL 06002
Releasedate: 01-02-11


The idea came from fellow viola-player Tabea Zimmermann. Many years ago, Martin Stegner had heard a recording of her playing Franz Schubert's Winterreise song cycle and had been enchanted. Because the viola repertoire is comparatively limited, viola players are constantly on the look-out for interesting literature, so the idea of trying to do something similar to Zimmermann was not long in coming.

Stegner's piano accompanist Tomoko Takahashi, who already had some experience in lieder accompaniment and a fondness for the genre, was equally enthusiastic. The viola is often compared with the human voice, and in terms of range and timbre does indeed come rather close to it; so arranging lieder for the viola must have seemed obvious at first. But after examining the material more closely, the musicians began to ask themselves more and more questions. Should the words be recited between the songs? What should be done with songs with several verses? And how far could the originals be transposed without making the piano part sound odd? Eventually they became so plagued by doubts that the project was shelved for several years and only revived when the two musicians came across Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe. Having originally rejected this song cycle on the grounds that it was too well known, they now decided they liked it so much that they would use it after all – and suddenly a whole range of new possibilities emerged. Kaja Engel

MARTIN STEGNER His first teacher was his father, who gave him his first violin lessons when Martin Stegner was eight. After studying with Roman Nodel at the Mannheim Musikhochschule, he switched to the viola and then went for training to Neithard Resa and Wilfried Strehle in the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Orchestra Academy. His first engagement was in 1993, as principal viola of Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester. Three years later he moved to the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Martin Stegner performs as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, America and Japan. He also works with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the Orquesta Juvenil Centroamericana and has given courses at Yale University and the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
He is actively involved in expanding the viola’s repertoire. Together with the pianist Tomoko Takahashi, he has released several highly acclaimed CDs of transcriptions of lieder by Robert Schumann. His work has been documented on 18 CDs.

TOMOKO TAKAHASHI was born in Japan and took earliest lessons on the piano as a four-year- old in her homeland. In 1982 she continued her musical education at the University of the Arts in Tokyo. Starting in 1988, as a scholarship holder of the German Academic Exchange Service, she studied with Klaus Hellwig at the Berlin University of the Arts and earned a solo piano performance degree (Konzertexamen) with highest honors in 1995. Tomoko Takahashi twice won the Artur Schnabel Competition in Berlin as well as other awards.

Her CD with instrumental versions of Robert Schumann’s song cycles (viola and piano) was widely acclaimed by press and major German broadcasters.

Martin Stegner was born in Nuremberg. Following failed attempts to learn the recorder, he began taking violin lessons at the age of eight, initially with his father. He gave his concert debut at the age of nine in a hall that subsequently burned down, after which his application for admission to the Nuremberg

Conservatory was turned down. He continued taking violin lessons with teachers in Nuremberg and Munich and began to develop an interest in chamber music. In 1989 he began studying violin under Professor Roman Nodel at the Mannheim Academy of Music. He decided to switch to the viola rather late in his studies, but then won a scholarship to the Herbert von Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. After spending three years as solo viola with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester he moved to the Berlin Philharmonic. He is a much soughtafter chamber music player and soloist and has performed in many countries, including Japan and America. Unusually for a classical musician, Martin Stegner is also interested in jazz. Even at the age of sixteen, he was playing with formations that would later produce some of the most sought-after free jazz musicians on the circuit. He himself has toured all over Europe with Germany’s leading gypsy musicians and has made a number of CD recordings. He has also played with numerous other jazz musicians including Herbie Mann and Diane Reeves. In 1999 he founded the Berlin Philharmonic Jazz Group and in 2008 the Ensemble Bolero Berlin, in which he and other soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic devote themselves to South American music. He has been playing with Tomoko Takahashi for thirteen years and has done much to expand the viola’s repertoire.

Tomoko Takahashi received her first piano lesson at the age of four in her native Japan. In 1982 she continued her musical training at the National University of the Arts Tokyo. Two years later she won a prize in the Nippon National Music Competition. After taking her final examination in Tokyo in 1988, Takahashi began studying under Professor Klaus Hellwig at the Berlin University of the Arts

(HdK) on a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), passing her concert examination with distinction in 1995. She has twice won the Arthur Schnabel Competition in Berlin and in 1990 – the year she also completed her master’s thesis at the University of the Arts Tokyo – was awarded second prize in the German Academy Competition. From 1998 to 2000 Takahashi taught various string classes as a coachaccompanist at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). Her main interest is in chamber music and lieder accompaniment and in this capacity she has won acclaim as the piano partner of numerous well known soloists. She now lives and works in Berlin as a freelance pianist.