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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Johann Rudolf ZUMSTEEG (1760-1802)
Ballads with piano
"Die Entführung"
"Des Pfarrers Tochter von Taubertheim".

Bernd Weikl (baritone). Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano).
Recorded Munich 1982 in association with Bavarian Radio.
ORFEO C074 02 1 A [46.03]


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Who? Well, the small German label Orfeo has a reputation for bringing forward less obvious repertoire, often performed by outstanding native performers. So it is here. Zumsteeg, a friend of Schiller, two months his elder, studied cello and composition, and as well as seven volumes of lied, he also composed several operas. Serious scholars have suggested that his model was significant to those who followed: Schubert, Loewe, Zetter, Knock; enough said! Zumsteeg was part of the "Sturm and Drang" (storm and stress) movement, which foreshadowed romanticism. His songs require full bodied tone allied to the capacity for a wide variety of inflection and expression. Bernd Weikl is an ideal exponent of the works presented on this disc. Born in Vienna in 1942 he made his professional debut as Ottakar in Der Freischütz in 1968. He sang at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 1968 and later that year made his Bayreuth début, since when he has sung there regularly. He has not restricted himself to the German repertoire and has appeared in opera sets sung in Italian on the BMG label. All this indicates the quality of voice that is evidenced on this disc. With a full rounded tone, excellent legato and diction, he explores and expresses the words and nuances of what he sings and without the excessive pointing that some specialist lieder singers often exhibit. The piano accompaniments of Wolfgang Sawallisch match his singer. The recording is forward and ideally clear. The booklet contains translations in French and English as well as brief biographies. Those interested in the evolution of pre-Schubert lied will find much of interest and enjoyment here.

Robert J Farr


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