If you want to understand love’s complications, or even be utterly confused by them, Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook is a good place to start. Wolf’s 46 beautiful songs, completed in 1896 and widely considered his greatest cycle, set anonymous Italian love poems translated into German. Each vignette is an insight into a miniature world, whether a tale of longing, seduction, remorse, or rejection. The music suits the mood of each poem—often poignant, sometimes skittish, even outrageous (“Ich hab in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen” ), and always a joy to listen to. Damrau and Kaufmann form a perfect partnership with the brilliantly characterful pianist Helmut Deutsch.
Italienisches Liederbuch: No. 1, "Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken" (Live)