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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH

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Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition 17 - Austrian Contemporaries Vol. 2

Der Unglückliche D.713, Widerspruch D.865, Glaube, Hoffnung und Liebe D.955, Frohsinn D.520, Die abgeblühte Linde D.514, Der Flug der Zeit D.515, Das Heimweh D.851, Die Allmacht D.852, Labetrank der Liebe D.302, An die Geliebte, D.303, Vergebliche Liebe D.177, Die Sterne D.716, Die erste Liebe D.182, Lob des Tokayers D.248, Der Zufriedene D.320, Der Sänger am Felsen D.482, Lied D.483, Skolie D.306, Die Befreier Europas in Paris D.104, Abschied D.829, Die Fröhlichkeit D.262
Detlef Roth (baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano)
Recorded in Radiostudio 1, Zurich, 24th-28th May 2003
NAXOS 8.557172 [65:00]

 

Detlef Roth has been working regularly in European opera houses over the last ten years but, while he has a voice rich enough for Wolfram he has also sung Papageno and is well-attuned to the nuances required of lieder singing. It is a splendidly rich voice, resonant in the lower range but free and untroubled in the higher notes. You can hear this immediately in "Der Unglückliche", a wide-ranging song which goes on from a deceptively tranquil opening to achieve high drama, while "Die Allmacht" is a tour de force of powerfully involved singing. The many gentler songs, on the other hand, are caressed with a real sense of line and without ever resorting to dubious tricks such as the head voice. Indeed, as I listened to this splendidly resonant voice with its innate musicality and sensitivity towards the words without undue fuss over them, a very famous name came to my mind – Hans Hotter. Since Ulrich Eisenlohr, the mastermind behind Naxos’s complete Schubert project, accompanies splendidly, this is clearly one of the high points of the series.

Here, then, is the second of the volumes dedicated to Schubert’s settings of poems by his Austrian contemporaries, and very rare material it all is, I don’t recollect ever having heard any of them. Yet all are attractive if without quite displacing in my mind the well-tried favourites. "Die Unglückliche" is one that maybe deserves a regular place in our programmes, and "Die Allmacht" is a useful addition to the small repertoire of lieder on religious subjects – it would make a good pairing in recital with "Litanei". For the rest, what a treasure trove is Schubert, even relatively minor Schubert. By the way, this disc contains none of those interminable ballads which weigh heavily on some other discs in the series and it also contains a curiosity in the form of Schubert’s one and only melodrama – "Abschied". Roth’s speaking voice is almost as beautiful as his singing voice.

Those who are collecting automatically this very uneven series will be thrilled by this latest addition; if you have so far collected just a few CDs of Schubert’s best-known songs then here is a splendid disc of rarer ones to branch out with. But, so good are the performances that even if you have collected all these songs in the Hyperion edition, you might well consider getting this as well.

As usual Eisenlohr provides helpful notes, plus texts and translations. Just to prove I really was listening, the third verse of "Der Sänger am Felsen" sung here is not the one printed in the booklet.

Christopher Howell

For reviews of other releases in this series,
see the Naxos Deutsche Schubert-Lied Edition page

 



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