Karl Gottfried von Leitner (1800-1890), born in Styria, Austria, was throughout the course of his long life not granted a great breakthrough as a writer: the audience's taste changed too rapidly, there was a lot of competition, and from the middle of the century he had to endure ubiquitous censorship. Nevertheless he inspired numerous composers to adapt his lyrics, among these Franz Schubert, Albert Stadler, Robert Fuchs, Franz Paul Lachner, Sigismund Thalberg and Anselm Hüttenbrenner. On this double CD, German bass baritone Ulf Bästlein presents together with pianist Sascha El Mouissi songs by different composers who set von Leitner's lyric poetry to music. As quasi-interludes the singer recites further poems by the Austrian writer.
Ulf Bästlein, born in Flensburg/Northern Germany, first studied classical philology, German literature (with promotion) before studying voice with Prof. A. Meyerolbersleben at the Academy of Music in Freiburg. In 1987 his operatic career led him first to the Heidelberg City Theatre and later on to Augsburg, Hannover, Lübeck, and the Hamburg State Opera. Equally important have been his activities in concert and lied, which are documented in numerous radio and television recordings. He was awarded several prizes, including the VDMK singing competition in Berlin and the Nürnberger Meistersinger competition. He has sung in almost every European country and frequently appears as a guest at international music festivals. His wide repertoire ranges from Monteverdi, Bach, Händel and Mozart up to contemporary compositions. Numerous recordings testify to his versatility as a performer. In 1999 he was appointed to the post of Professor at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck and in 2000 he was also appointed Professor of Singing at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz/Austria. Ulf Bästlein regularly leads masterclasses both in Germany and abroad.
Sascha El Mouissi Born in Frankfurt on the Main, the pianist Sascha El Mouissi studied piano at the Mainz School of Music with Heinz Zarbock and piano-vocal accompaniment at the University of Music and Preforming Arts Vienna with Charles Spencer. Alongside many other prizes, Sascha El Mouissi was awarded with the Johannes Gutenberg Prize from the University of Mainz, the »Lied-Prize« from the Ministry of Culture of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, and the Theodor Storm Prize in Piano. Sascha El Mouissi has just completed a busy international concert schedule and has been invited to numerous festivals, such as the Festwochen in Vienna, both in Germany and abroad. His concert tours have taken him to England, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Marocco. In addition to his solo piano performances, he can be seen as a chamber musician and, most often, as the piano accompanist for renowned vocalists. Several recordings were radio broadcasted in Germany and Austria. During master classes Sascha El Mouissi plays piano with the vocalists KS Marjana Lipovsek, Andreas Scholl, KS Axel Kohler, Michael Hofstetter, Claudia Eder and Paul Edmund-Davies. He is currently teaching at the University for Music and perfoming Arts in Graz.