There can be no doubt about the beautiful and beautifully sustained quality of Thomas Quasthoff's voice. It strikes one immediately with a cello-like smoothness. I first heard Herr Quasthoff singing Lieder, and knew instantly that he was a master, one of the few who is gifted not only with a voice but also with, thank God, musical intelligence.
When he applies that intelligence to arias, he gives an intimate and very effective lustre to the vocal line. Even with arias one has heard many times before, an immediacy comes through. I felt as though I were hearing the Weber and the Wagner for the first time - that same joy in the newness and wonder of such superb music alighted on me.
With the Lortzing, I feel the official review above is unfair. They were delightful to listen to, and Lortzing is sufficiently able as a composer to produce works of worth and originality. One may not - one does not - put him into the same rank as Beethoven, Weber, Wagner, etc. - but then we are speaking of giants of the Romantic period. Between genius and mere competence lies a HUGE field, and Lortzing is well into the plus side of that field. That Thomas Quasthoff sings the Lortzing arias magnificently, one takes for granted.
I am happy to place Quasthoff into the same category of "must-have" baritone/bass-baritone singers as Fischer-Dieskau, Olaf Bär, Bryn Terfel (although Terfel is not quite the word-painter that the others are), and so on. We are blessed at the moment with several extremely good male Lieder singers, and Quasthoff is most definitely one of them. I am busily searching for all of his recordings.
I found the album delightful, and thoroughly recommend it.