It is unclear why four songs from Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” (“A Poet’s Love”) ended up on the cutting-room floor, but according to the baritone Thomas Hampson, Schumann was not the one wielding the knife.
It is also not clear who authorized the dynamic, tempo and textual changes in the other 16 songs that were printed as “Dichterliebe” (Op. 48) in 1844 by the publishing company C. F. Peters. Mr. Hampson performed Schumann’s original manuscript version at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday evening, in a recital presented by Lincoln Center’s Art of the Song Series and the New York Philharmonic, with which he is artist in residence this season.
Schumann composed his 20 songs after Heinrich Heine’s “Lyrical Intermezzo” in 1840. The cycle relays the bitterness and despair of a lovelorn young man. The four deleted songs, “Dein Angesicht,” “Es leuchtet meine Liebe,” “Lehn’ deine Wang’ ” and “Mein Wagen rollet langsam,” were published posthumously as part of Opus 127 and Opus 142.
Mr. Hampson found Schumann’s original manuscript in Berlin and studied it with the musicologist Renate Hilmar-Voit. A comparison of the two scores reveals differences in dynamics, piano notation and phrasing, and in the rhythmic structure of the vocal line. Mr. Hampson describes the piano accompaniment in the first version as “patently unprettified.” In “Mein Wagen rollet langsam” (“My Wagon Rolls Slowly”) there is a motivic link to the next song, “Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet” (“I Wept in my Dream.”)
These songs are equal partnerships for singer and pianist, and Mr. Hampson had an excellent collaborator in Wolfram Rieger, who played with limpid poetry and seething tension. Mr. Hampson’s powerful baritone projected easily in the hall, his expressive voice conveying the drama and mood changes among the mournful, angry and ironic songs.
The first half of the program was less memorable, although competently rendered. Mr. Hampson, a champion of American art song, offered 12 selections by Samuel Barber, including the elusive “Solitary Hotel” and “In the Wilderness” from his Opus 41 cycle. He sang the three Opus 45 songs, which Barber wrote at the end of his career while suffering from depression and alcoholism, with expressive care.
The highlight of the Barber selections were Mr. Hampson’s dramatic renditions of the three Opus 10 songs, to texts by James Joyce.