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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Liederkreis, Op. 39 (1840) [24:47]
Dichterliebe, Op. 48 (1840) [30:20]
Leszek Świdziński (tenor)
Zofia Antes (piano)
rec. 2016, Music Education Concert Centre, Warsaw
Sung texts enclosed with Polish and English translations
DUX 1509 [55:07]

The first impression of Leszek Świdziński is a dark-tinted tenor of considerable volume. I could imagine him to be a Radamès or Lohengrin – there is steel in the tone, very obvious in Intermezzo and Waldesgespräch. There is glow and freshness a-plenty. But the biography in the booklet gives another picture. He made his operatic debut in 1988 as Ferrando in Così fan tutte and through the years he has sung several other Mozart roles as well as Alfredo in La traviata, Rodolfo in La bohéme, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Ernesto in Don Pasquale to mention a few. In other words a basically lyric tenor. And he does scale down for some lyrical passages, but generally there is too much muscular singing here, at least in the Liederkreis. Take Mondnacht for instance. Es rauschten leis’ die Wälder… should be like a whisper, but here it is sung at rote and robbed of all its magic. And Schöne Fremde is performed with the frenzy of Manrico’s stretta. I admit that Auf einer Burg is recited with a lot of sensitivity and nobility and there are other moments of lyrical insight, but they are few and far between. On the other hand I must admire the freshness of tone and the steadiness, considering that he has a career of almost 30 years behind him, and he has impressive low notes for a tenor. Just listen to Zwielicht (tr. 10).

He is much better in Dichterliebe, which he opens with a sensitive reading of Im wunderschönen Monat Mai. Die Rose, die Lilie… is too heavy, but Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ is sensitive enough, though not magical enough. The more dramatic songs are good, Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome is big and mighty, as is Ich grolle nicht. Quite the best reading comes in Hör ich das Liedchen klingen, soft and inward. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen is fresh and spring like and in Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen there is fine scaling down in the second stanza. The last few songs are very good with an impressing Die alten, bösen Lieder as the crowning glory, followed by a sensitively played postlude. Something of a mixed bag, but at least Dichterliebe has quite a lot to offer those who prefer a more big-boned reading.

Göran Forsling

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