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Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Austrian Contemporaries - Volume 3
1. Himmelsfunken D651 [3:01]
2. Der Mondabend D141 [2:46]
3. Bertas Lied in der Nacht D653 [4:07]
4. Cora an die Sonne D263 [2:09]
5. Mein Gruss an den Mai D305 [3:19]
6. Die Blumensprache D519 [2:15]
7. Der Blumen Schmerz D731 [4:58]
8. Das Lied im Grünen D917 [4:40]
9. Frühlingslied D919 [5:19]
10. An die Sonne D270 [2:59]
11. Lambertine D301 [3:11]
12. Blondel zu Marien D626 [3:57]
13. Der Morgenkuss D264 [2:28]
14. Die Unterscheidung D866/1 [5:23]
15. Die Männer sind méchant D866/3 [2:45]
16. Das Echo D868/990C [4:40]
17. Die Liebe D522 [3:38]
18. Ammenlied D122 [1:44]
19. Die Macht der Liebe D308 [1:41]
20 Abendbilder D650 [6:28]
Daniela Sindram (mezzo), Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano)
rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany, 24–27 June 2005
NAXOS 8.557833 [71:29]


Perfect legato, concentrated tone, restraint balanced with tension; those are the first reactions to Daniela Sindram’s voice in the opening song of this disc. Even and spotless tone in the youthful Der Mondabend too, but here she opens up to a larger sound and she is not afraid of letting the vibrato widen to fine dramatic effect. In Bertas Lied in der Nacht she grades the nuances skilfully and after these three nightly poems she finds a lighter tone for Cora an die Sonne. As time goes on can detect a slight over-vibrancy in places – and doesn’t the voice glare uncomfortably in Die Blumensprache? On the other hand: isn’t she always expressive, singing off the text? And in An die Sonne and Lambertine, two lovely songs, how well she colours the voice. Two mezzo-sopranos from the not so distant past spring to mind: Brigitte Fassbaender, most of all, and Christa Ludwig. Aha, the reader thinks, no prizes for guessing who were her teachers. And right he/she is. Neither of these remarkable singers had any qualms about sacrificing tonal beauty when the expression required it and in later years we even learnt to accept some quite unbeautiful singing from Fassbaender.

No one can deny that Sindram has a vibrant voice at forte and above, but it is a controlled vibrato – and beautiful at that. In Blondel zu Marien, a remarkable song in itself with the Beethovenian piano introduction and the Bellinian vocal line, she finds a creamy tone to match the music. The rest of the programme is a string of pearls of well-judged phrasing and discreet stressing and pointing of words. In the few instances I could find alternative recordings she stands up well against such an expert Liedersinger as Irmgard Seefried – Das Lied im Grünen – but Seefried with many years of experience has a wider tonal palette. Imagining Fassbaender in some of the songs she would also have invested them with even more depth. I don’t say this to diminish the impact of Daniela Sindram’s readings – this disc belongs among the best in this series of those I have heard – but comparisons are part and parcel of this reviewing business and the mere fact that I pitch her against such formidable competition is proof enough that hers is an admirable achievement.  In most instances there is practically no competition, apart from the complete Hyperion series, of which I have a respectable number but far from all of them and, as it happens, none of these.

Not all of these songs are out of the top drawer but, as those who followed the Hyperion series and also those who have followed this Naxos series know, there is in almost every song something to admire and many of them are little gems.

No texts and translations, but they can be found on the web, and Ulrich Eisenlohr’s extensive notes are illuminating. That he is also a splendid accompanist, besides being the mastermind behind the whole project, need hardly be mentioned. Like Graham Johnson in the Hyperion series he has been doing a mammoth job.

The recorded sound is fully worthy of the musical excellence on display here.

Göran Forsling 




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