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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART

Die Zauberflöte: Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja; Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (1); Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen
Le Nozze di Figaro: Hai già vinta la causa!; Crudel! Perché finora (1)
Don Giovanni: Deh, vieni alla finestra
Richard WAGNER
Tannhäuser: Blick ich umher in diesen edlen Kreise; Wie Todesahnung … O du mein holder Abendstern
Szenen aus Goethes Faust: Ein Sumpf zieht am Gebirge hin
Köningskinder: Verdorben! Gestorben! … Ihr Kindlein, sie sind gefunden (2)
Ariadne auf Naxos: Harlekinlied (1)
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD
Die tote Stadt: Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen (3)
Alban BERG: Wir arme Leut!; Dort links geht's in die Stadt … Du sollst da bleiben,

Matthias Goerne (baritone), Dorothea Roschmann (1), Children's Choir from Adolf Fredriks Music School (2), Ladies of the Swedish Radio Choir (3), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck
Decca 467 263-2 [56.05]
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This is a voice with a honeyed, mellow beauty right through its range, and considerable power when needed. Goerne has made his reputation principally as a lieder singer and I did wonder if his self-communing style in the Wagner would carry across the footlights. Still, as a gramophone experience it is totally satisfying, culminating in a Star of Eve as gently caressed as it is possible to imagine. He is also to be commended for the inclusion of some lesser-known items, which all benefit from his detailed attention to words without ever compromising the musical line. He is such a musical singer. Although I had quite a pile of discs awaiting review my reaction to the Korngold was to play it again!

Any doubts centre upon the Mozart. He is a graver Papageno than we usually hear, rather lacking a smile in his voice. A comparison of the Count's aria with Alfred Poell's account in the classic Erich Kleiber set reveals that a certain ping is needed for this repertoire which Goerne doesn't have. You would expect a comparison with Cesare Siepi's classic Don (under Krips) to lead the same way, but here the manner is entirely credible. This silky, mellifluous charmer could be a very dangerous heartbreaker indeed.

Still, it is for the romantic/modern pieces that this recital is most likely to be bought, and I hope it will be bought very widely indeed. Honeck is an extremely positive partner and Dorothea Roschmann contributes pleasingly without ever attracting undue attention to herself. The recording is excellent and we get a typically well-informed essay from John Steane plus full texts and translations in English, French and German.

Even the best-laid plans of mice and men are liable to have oddities here and there. This disc's minor eccentricity is to place the Figaro scene with Susanna after the aria which it shortly precedes in the opera.

Christopher Howell

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