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the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

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match any I’ve heard


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personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 


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Lieder An Die Entfernte
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Die Mainacht, D 194 [2:08]
Sehnsucht, D 879 [2:17]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)
An die ferne Geliebte, op. 98 [13:04]
Franz SCHUBERT
Im Frühling, D 882 [4:11]
Als ich sie erröthen sah, D 153 [2:01]
Geisternähe, D 100 [[3:13]
Abendlied für die Entfernte, D 856 [6:39]
Lied der Liebe, D 109 [2:48]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
Dichterliebe, op. 48 [28:03]
Franz SCHUBERT
An den Mond, D 193 [2:43]
Im Abendroth, D 799 [3:35]
Georg Poplutz (tenor)
Hilko Dumno (piano)
rec. 2013, Haus der Klaviere Gottschling, Dülmen-Hiddingsel, Germany
SPEKTRAL SRL4-16153 [71:27]

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Die schöne Müllerin [61:03]
Georg Poplutz (tenor)
Antje Asendorf (romantic guitar)
Stefan Hladek (quint bass guitar)
rec. 2014, Immanuelkirche Königstein im Taunus, Germany
SPEKTRAL SRL4-14129 [61:03]

The German tenor on these two releases is Georg Polputz. He was born in Arnsberg but now resides in Frankfurt. His career focuses mainly on lieder and oratorio. In 2009 he was awarded the Frankfurt Mendelssohn Prize.

Lieder an die Entfernte (Songs to the Distant Beloved) features a carefully constructed and well thought out programme of works by Schubert, Beethoven and Schumann. Poplutz is accompanied by Hilko Dumno, who specializes in lieder accompaniment and teaches art song performance in Frankfurt. The two artists have worked together for 15 years.

The Beethoven and Schumann cycles provide a focal point for the recital, fleshed with nine of Schubert's lesser known songs of which Im Frühling, D 882 is the only one I know. Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), Op. 98 is his only song cycle - six songs, composed to texts by Alois Jeitteles. The songs reflect the composer's realization and disappointments that love and marriage had passed him by. They are deeply personal and inwardly expressive, and Poplutz truly conveys the changing moods to perfection.  Schumann's Dichterliebe is set to texts by Heinrich Heine. This cycle I'm much more familiar with. It speaks of love unfulfilled or unrequited. I love Poplutz sincerity and simplicity in  Aus meinen Tränen spriessen with Die Rose, die Lilie, which follows, rhythmically pointed and excellently accompanied with light articulation by Dumno. My favorite  Ich grolle nicht  has both power and energy, it's one of the finest versions I've come across. In contrast Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen is calm, gentle and introspective.

Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin is here heard in an arrangement by Stefan Hladek. I have to admit that I initially approached this disc with scepticism. I needn’t have had any concerns, as the arrangements are extremely successful. Hladek utilizes the quint bass guitar, which he plays on this recording, and the romantic guitar played by Antje Asendorf. As well as providing a wealth of colour to the music, the tonal range of the two instruments has enabled the piano parts to be left more or less intact. Apart from Ungeduld, all the other songs are in their original keys. This is not the first time these songs have had their accompaniments arranged for guitar, Anton Diabelli saw the possibilities in his version, published as far back as 1834. Some of the songs work better than others. Eifersucht und Stoltz and Der Müller und der Bach are two of my favourites, where these arrangements constitute a refreshing alternative.

Poplutz brings depth, breadth and artful musicality to everything he performs here.  Another compelling facet of his artistry is his immaculate diction and clarity of articulation. He is both well-focussed and has a rhythmic flexibility. Hilko Dumno is a sensitive accompanist and there is a tangible rapport between the two, evidence of their longstanding partnership. The performers have the added blessing of superb recorded sound and balance. Spektral have provided texts of the songs in both cases.  It's a pity that in Lieder an die Entfernte no translations from the German are provided, however in Die schöne Müllerin we are treated to an English translation. These two releases offer much to savour and enjoy.

Stephen Greenbank

 

 




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