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Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Romantic Poets, Volume 3 (Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition 26)
Lied der Delphine, D857/1 (Schütz) [4:23]
Der Blumenbrief, D622 (Schreiber) [2:16]
An den Mond in einer Herbstnacht, D614 (Schreiber) [7:14]
Geistliches Lied: Marie/Ich sehe dich … , D658 (Novalis) [1:23]
Hymne: Wenige wissen das Geheimnis, D659 (Novalis) [7:58]
Geistliches Lied: Wenn ich ihn nur habe, D660 (Novalis) [4:11]
Geistliches Lied: Wenn alle untreu werden, D661 (Novalis) [4:31]
Geistliches Lied: Ich sag’ es jedem, D662 (Novalis) [2:11]
Nachthymne: Hinüber wall ich, D687 (Novalis) [5:52]
Blanka (Das Mädchen), D631 (Friedrich von Schlegel) [2:08]
Vom Mitleiden Mariä, D632 (F. von Schlegel after Friedrich Spee) [4:21]
Die verfehlte Stunde, D409 (August Wilhelm von Schlegel) [5:05]
Lob der Tränen, D711 (August Wilhelm von Schlegel) [4:46]
Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D965 (Wilhelm Müller, von Chézy)* [11:38]
Sibylla Rubens (soprano); Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano); Nikolaus Friedrich (clarinet)*
rec. Sendersaal, SWR Studio, Karlsruhe, Germany, 6-9 September 2006. DDD
sung texts and English translations can be found at the Naxos website
NAXOS 8.557832 [68:00]
Experience Classicsonline

A while ago I gave a warm welcome to a Schumann disc on Naxos with Liederalbum für die Jugend (see review), which the excellent baritone Thomas Bauer shared with Sibylla Rubens. Now, when Naxos are nearing the completion of the Schubert cycle, Ms Rubens gets a whole disc to herself and once again shows that she is among the best female Lieder singers in her generation. Just as on the Schumann disc one admires the purity of tone and the musical phrasing. Her bright twittering soprano is agreeable to listen to and she is not only good in the lyrical songs. She also invests the powerful songs with a great deal of drama without for one moment sacrificing the beauty of her voice.
Apart from the first two songs and the concluding Der Hirt auf dem Felsen I can’t remember hearing any of them before and I found them very satisfying. It seems that Novalis’s poems inspired Schubert to some really memorable songs and I became very fond of Marie/Ich sehe dich … (tr. 4) and Hinüber wall ich (tr. 9). These are definitely out of Schubert’s top-drawer; I wonder why they are so rarely performed. A couple of these songs are a bit longer than the average – songs that exceed four to five minutes may not hold the listener’s interest. A ‘normal’ length of a song seems to be the same as a popular song: possible to squeeze onto a 78rpm side. If that’s a reason it is remarkable that Der Hirt auf dem Felsen – the only established masterpiece on this disc – is so frequently heard but there the inspiration is constantly flowing. Moreover it is not just a song, it is in effect a chamber music trio where the soprano voice, the clarinet and the piano are intertwined in a three-part conversation of equal merit. It is very well performed here with Nikolaus Friedrich’s smooth and nuanced playing matching and contrasting with Sibylla Rubens’ brightness.
The mastermind behind the whole project, Ulrich Eisenlohr, is, as always, a pliable accompanist and the recording is excellent. I still think it’s a pity that one has to get the texts and translations via the internet.
This is certainly one of the best discs in the series and is worth seeking out, not only for the excellent singing but also for some really attractive unknown songs.
Göran Forsling

All reviews of this series at the Naxos Schubert Lied page 


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