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Dr. J. Woodall (UK)

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Schumann: Dichterliebe & other Heine settings
Schumann: Dichterliebe & other Heine settings
Price: £15.44

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching the heart, 22 Oct 2009
I too feel the need to redress the balance here. Gerald Finley and Julius Drake form one of the best recital partnerships around, and this superb disc reveals not only their undisputed musicianship but also touches the heart in a very direct, natural and honest way.

Gerald Finley, with his gloriously rich and lyrical baritone, brings story-telling flair to Schumann's settings of Heine's poems. Julius Drake, that most discerning of pianists, creates equal delight and captivation with his heartfelt, compelling, vibrant and perceptive playing - it is worth buying the CD for Mr Drake's postludes alone. The Ballads and "Der arme Peter" are grippingly told, to which exactly the right tone of awesome dread is added to Belsatzar, contrasting with the full aching beauty and intimacy of the Myrthen love songs. In Dichterliebe, the pair use intelligence and humanity to convey all of the complexities of emotion in this great journey through doomed love, unfulfilled desire and regret, and I for one am moved to tears by their performance.

For me they capture perfectly the imposing grandeur with which "Im Rhein, im Heligen Strome" opens and its change to introspective love. I can feel the resentment and anger in "Es ist ein Flöten und Geigen" and "Ich grolle nicht" (in which Mr Finley takes the impressive, high vocal line), wallow in the spine-tingling desire in "Im wundershönen Monat Mai" and "Ich will meine Seele tauchen" and empathise with the traumatic conclusion in "Alten Bosen Lieder" resolved so touchingly by the final postlude.

We all have different tastes and are all entitled to our opinions, but I think it is foolish to disregard the overwhelming consensus - this is an outstanding recording of a partnership in its prime, richly deserving of the praise heaped upon it from around the world.

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