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Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Poets of Sensibility Vol. 5: Ludwig Kosegarten (1758-1818)
Gist der Liebe D233** [2.18]; Das Finden D219** [2.54]; Alles um Liebe D241* [2.24]; Huldigung** D240 [2.15]; Die Erscheinung D229** [2.55]; Die Tauschung D230* [2.04]; Der Abend D221** [3.53]; Die Mondnacht D238* [2.41]; Nachtgesang D314*** [2.44]; Abends unter der Linde D235** [3.07]; Das Sehnen D231*** [2.21]; Luisens Antwort D319* [2.50]; Abends unter der Linde D237* [3.23]; An Rosa I D315** [0.49]; An Rosa II D315** [4.01]; An die untergenhende Sonne D457* [6.23]; Die Sterne ("Wie Woht?") D313** [2.45]; Idens Nachtgesang D227* [2.14]; Von Ida D228* [1.32]; Idens Schwanenlied D317* [3.18]; Schwangesang D318*** [4.14]
Lydia Teuscher (soprano)*; Marcus Ullman (tenor)**; Thomas Bauer (baritone)***; Ulrich Eisenlohr (fortepiano)
rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany, 10-14 November 2003, 12-16 January 2004 and 2 to 3 November 2005
NAXOS 8.557373 [61.04]
Please note: We have just been informed by Naxos that an incorrect master was used to prepare this recording which has now been withdrawn pending a re-release.

Late last century Hyperion released a 36 CD set of the complete Schubert lieder repertoire under the guidance of pianist Graham Johnson. Naxos are trying to emulate this prodigious work, but with a different approach. Whereas Hyperion graded their songs by their themes, with singers chosen to suit each group of songs, Naxos have grouped their selections according to the poets that provided the lyrics.
This album looks at the works of poet, pastor and theologian Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten who lived between 1758 and 1818. What links the poets in this Naxos project is that they wrote in a popular folk-style known as the German Empfindsamkeit or Poetry of Sensibility. Their subjects include grief, death, resurrection as well as love, friendship and humour and together with Goethe and Schiller, they provided Schubert with inspiration while serving his 'apprenticeship' as a musical setter of poems.
Eventually Naxos will record all of Schubert's song settings with the completed edition not scheduled to be finished before 2008. There are over 700 settings (21 on this disc alone) and 115 separate poets, some from classical Greece, the Middle Ages, and of course, some of his contemporaries including Heinrich Heine whom he never met. For collectors and lovers of Schubert's lieder this is an invaluable work and at a budget price.
However, having said that I am disappointed at the quality of some of the soloists. I have already reviewed one other volume in this series (Number 4) and in that album the soprano was not up to scratch singing lieder. The same is the case in this compilation, although it is a different singer. I presume Ulrich Eisenlohr as artistic leader for this project is responsible for the choices and, much as I applaud the suitability of most of his selections, he appears to fall short sometimes.
Soprano Lydia Teuscher's top notes on the whole are too strident. When she does modify them and floats them so they're allowed to reach their own level without pushing (as in Abends unter der Linde, track 13) they are beautiful. Lieder singing was originally meant to be performed to a gathering of music-lovers in an intimate setting, usually in the drawing room of a private house. Outbursts of volume are unnecessary. The exceptions are songs like Schubert's Erlkonig where the storyline demands a range of dynamics.
Tenor Marcus Ullman also tends to stray. His enunciation in the earlier songs is over the top to the point that it detracts from the beauty of the song itself. He is admirable, however, singing the more legato songs. This is very much the case in Der Abend (track 7). His interpretations generally are the stuff of good lieder singing; as are baritone Thomas Bauer's who, alas, is only allowed three songs.
Randolph Magri-Overend


Naxos Schubert Lieder Edition page

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