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Johannes BRAHMS
Lieder - Complete Edition - Volume 2
Funf Gedichte op 19 Lieder und Gesange op 32
Vier Gesange op. 43 Vier Lieder op 46.

 Juliane Banse (sop), Andreas Schmidt (bar), accompanied by Helmut Deutsche
 recorded August / December 1996 in conjunction with Sender Freies, Berlin.
cpo 999 442-2 DDD Stereo, [57:33]

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This is Volume 2 in what will become, in time, the complete recording of the Lieder of Brahms. As with Volume 1, CPO are choosing young singers with secure reputations to front this series.

This issue has two singers, the baritone Andreas Schmidt, who has the lion's share of the songs. Indeed out of the 22 tracks, Andreas Schmidt has 19 of them, and what a wonderful job he does. He is however no match for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with whom Schmidt may be compared. The older singer makes for more stylish performances. I know however, that many do not like Dieskau's style, and if this is so, then the present disc will be ideal for you. Schmidt's singing is more direct, less rounded, but very stylish, and very accurate.

The soprano soloist, Juliane Banse has an unfortunate beat in her voice, which is particularly evident in her first song, Der Schmied op 19, No. 4. She sings this song very fast indeed, and this exposes the beat very much, which I find somewhat disturbing. The other two of her offerings are not nearly so intrusive.

The differences in level of contribution unbalances the disc somewhat, but this is of very little importance.

Helmut Deutsch's accompaniment is stylish, and as good as you could wish, and so the enterprise is continuing on its very successful way.

Once more CPO has us in their debt. Like Hyperion in the UK, this German specialist company has recorded much music of various kinds in first class "musical" recordings, often recorded in collaboration with radio organisations through northern Europe and further afield. This is another of CPO's collaborative ventures, this time with Sender Freies Berlin, and the recording, resulting from the radio studios in Berlin, is superb.

The disc comes with full texts of all the songs, and a very informative set of notes on Brahms' songs in general, and the specific works in detail. Added to this are comprehensive biographical notes on all three artists, making a very desirable disc.


John Phillips.


John Phillips.

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