I'm not sure I agree
with web-based texts and translations.
Print them out, it's ungainly; sit with
them on the screen, the screen better
be in the best place so one can enjoy
the recording quality. You can't win.
Thomas Bauer and Uta
Hielscher are regular partners, apparently,
yet there is an imbalance. Hielscher
is more alive to the music's nuances
The programme is a
brave one with such famous fare on offer.
The Op. 24 Liederkreis sets the
scene. The recording itself is rather
close, with a touch too much added reverb.
The interpretation rarely takes one
close to the heart of Schumann; best
are the first song - delicate, with
care from both interpreters - and the
penultimate: the short, 'Anfangswollt'
ich fast verzagen'. A shame that the
final Lied, 'Mit Myrthen und Rosen'
fails to conclude the cycle convincingly,
despite both parties' best efforts.
Der arme Peter
works much better - flowing nicely,
with a lovely, delicate piano. Belsazar
acts as dramatic contrast. The 'horn
figures' in the piano's left-hand are
superbly evocative. This is the best
performance so far, and yet there is
a problem still in that some of the
range seems too low for Bauer's baritone,
a setback that is to return in Dichterliebe's
No shortage of great
interpreters for Schumann's Op. 48,
so a performance that is merely good,
even at this price, really has no place.
There are many effective and affective
moments here, yet little sense of the
greatness of this music. Furthermore,
the more the cycle progressed the more
I found myself listening to Hielscher's
piano playing, almost to the extent
at times of blocking out the voice.
Hielscher provides many moments of magic
- try the cheeky piano postlude to the
penultimate lied as but one example
- but where is a pianist in this repertoire
without her soloist?
This is hardly a meeting
of equals, then, and very difficult
to recommend despite Hielscher's evident
Parry Jones had a similar view in
his review but Christopher
Fifield found more to enjoy.