Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949)
Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2 [2:21]
Herr Lenz, Op. 37 No. 5 [1:11]
Ich liebe dich, Op. 37 No. 2 [1:58]
Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1 [2:47]
Vier Lieder, Op. 27
Ruhe, meine Seele, Op. 27 No. 1 [3:26]
Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2 [1:59]
Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No 3 [3:09]
Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4 [3:21]
Lieder Op. 10 nach Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg
Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1 [1:29]
Nichts, Op. 10 No. 2 [1:24]
Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3 [2:53]
Die Georgine, Op. 10 No. 4 [3:29]
Geduld, Op. 10 No. 5 [4:19]
Die Verschwiegenden, Op. 10 No. 6 [1:00]
Die Zeitlose, Op. 10 No. 7 [1:33]
Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8 [2:49]
Sechs Lieder op. 19 nach Adolf Friedrich von Schack
Wozu noch, Mädchen, soll es frommen, Op. 19 No. 1 [1:41]
Breit’ über mein Haupt, Op. 19 No. 2 [1:27]
Schön sind, doch kalt die Himmelssterne, Op. 19 No. 3 [1:56]
Wie sollten wir geheim sie halte, Op. 19 No. 4 [1:28]
Hoffen und wieder verzagen, Op. 19 No. 5 [3:02]
Mein Herz ist stumm, mein Herz ist kalt, Op. 19 No. 6 [3:16]
Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4 [5:13]
Daniel Behle (tenor), Oliver Schnyder (piano)
rec. Radiostudio, Zürich, 13-15 September 2010, 3 April 2011
Sung texts enclosed but no translations
CAPRICCIO C5110 [57:48]

I first heard the young German tenor Daniel Behle almost to the day when writing this four years ago as Prince Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Stockholm. I described his voice as ‘mellifluous, agile, beautiful, technically spotless and with enough heft to make his top notes ring out’ (see full review here). A year later I reviewed his debut CD, a mixed song programme, in glowing terms (review), and the next year, 2010, his Die schöne Müllerin was my Recording of the Month (review). Since then he has also issued Schumann’s Dichterliebe which I have yet to hear, but if the present Strauss disc is anything to go by, that recording should also merit the same verdict. This is, without doubt, one of the best Strauss discs that I have heard - and I have more than a few in my collection.
My description of his singing four years ago is still valid but since then he has gained power and expression and his handling of the texts is excellent. All these virtues are present in Ich liebe dich (tr. 3) and Freundliche Vision (tr. 4) displays to perfection his seamless legato and the extreme beauty of his voice.
These first four songs from various opus groups is a kind of a first course to whet the appetite for the three main courses that follow, three complete groups. The four Op. 27 examples are all well known and often performed, but not always as a group. They certainly complement each other wonderfully and in Behle’s readings these gems glitter even more enticingly than usual. The concluding Morgen, inward and soft, is really marvellous.
The eight Op. 10 songs are especially valuable to have as a complete sequence since a couple of them are not that frequently heard. Zueignung is so powerfully and gloriously sung that one believes that in a couple of years he will take on spinto repertoire. Not that I would recommend him to rush into heavier roles but the potential is there. I listened with great pleasure to Nichts, sung with such excellent diction that you didn’t need the printed text. I admired his superb control of all the nuances. His breath control in Die Nacht. Allerseelen, a long-time favourite of mine, is sung with great simplicity, almost casually - but immensely moving.
The Op. 19 songs are even more rarely heard - and well worth hearing. Then, when we are served the dessert, Befreit is the perfect choice, not too sweet but with a taste that remains long after the last chord has died away.
The whole recital is so beautifully sung that it is quite possible to enjoy it just for the youthful, healthy vocalism without bothering about the interpretation of individual songs. This is where real greatness is to be found. Each of the songs stands out as a masterpiece. I felt more than once that I was hearing a well known song for the first time. So fresh, so immediate is the approach.
Daniel Behle is a marvellously gifted Lieder singer and the rapport between him and his admirable pianist is breathtaking.
Those who have bought one or more of his earlier recitals will need no persuasion to add this one. Those who haven’t should rectify that obvious lack in their collection without delay. This is my Recording of the Month. Without doubt it will be one of my Recordings of the Year when we reach December.
Göran Forsling

Marvellously gifted Lieder singing.