'Leise flehen meine Lieder', the Serenade from Franz Schubert's 'Swansong' Cycle, forms the title of this wonderful lieder album.
As indeed, the songs are all flowingly sung by Danish baritone Boje Skovhus with an orchestral accompaniment.
This orchestral arrangement requires a certain bit of patience for seasoned listeners of the songs, of which the traditional way of performances is for the solo voice and pianoforte.
The transcribed versions are very fine - the orchestrations add much 'drama' to the musical backdrop. Skovhus's lyrical yet rich baritone voice is being shown to best advantage with this luxuriant accompaniment.
The songs are mostly well known pieces, ranging from the beautifully lyrical Serenade to the lilting Trout and the flighty Erl King, with a few songs by Robert Schumann. All the songs receive orchestrations in their accompaniment, mostly to very good effect. The Schumann songs in these new arrangements are being recorded here for the first time.
The major work, encompassing more than 20 minutes, is Schubert's Ballade 'The Diver'. While I am unfamiliar with this large-scale vocal composition, I am immediately captured by Skovhus's highly effective interpretation. This mode of composition really foreshadows Wagner's operatic style.
Throughout the album, Skovhus consistently paints fascinating vocal colours in the different pieces. It is a truly masterful performance.