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2. Kriegers Ahnung
6. In Der Ferne
8. Im Walde, D834
9. Im Fruhling, D882
10. Uber Wildemann, D884
11. Auf Der Bruck, D853
12. Der Atlas
13. Ihr Bild
14. Das Fischermadchen
15. Die Stadt
16. Am Meer
17. Der Doppelganger
18. Die Taubenpost
Now, here comes rising baritone star Thomas Oliemans, partnered by the ever reliable and inspirational Malcolm Martineau with his version, and this is a version with a difference. In the middle of the cycle , between the Rellstab and Heine groups, Oliemans has inserted four songs to poems by Schulze. The liner-notes, a conversation between Oliemans and Calmer Roos, puzzlingly say not a world about this amendment. The Seidl songs are all late Schubert and I can only guess the theoretical background: Maybe if Schubert had lived a little longer he might have considered a cycle after all and since Müllerin consists of twenty songs and Winterreise twenty-four, he would have wished the new cycle to be about the same duration. Rummaging through his latest production of songs he would have found the Seidl songs and said. Exactly what I need! There is a lack of tension leading over to Der Atlas, and this should be the true climax of the cycle. If that was the reason for improving the cycle I think it was a brilliant one. The four new songs are among the finest and darkest of Schubert s late songs and they fit admirably into Schwanengesang, not as fillers but as an integrated part of the whole, providing even more drama and darkness. A while ago I wrote that Thomas Oliemans seems to be the best Francophone baritone since Gérard Souzay. Souzay was a great interpreter of the central German repertoire. Being an excellent linguist he could handle the language idiomatically and Oliemans, being Dutch, is even closer. Like Souzay it s not just a question of pronouncing the words but understanding them and conveying their underlying meaning to the listener. His first recital with mélodies by Fauré and Poulenc made me exclaim towards the end of the review: I am convinced that this is a Lieder and Mélodies artist of rare talent and then award the disc a Recording Of The Month header plus, some months later, including the disc in my selected Recordings Of The Year. Expectations were high when I put the new disc in the CD-player. I wasn t disappointed. He makes each and every one of these delectable songs come alive, makes me listen anew to music I thought I knew inside out and find new details, new insights. He doesn t impress through staggering exclamations and hairpin diminuendos even if he has the capacity for both. As I jotted down about Kriegers Ahnung: The intensity expressed both in decibels and finely graded nuances. One notices the ebb and flow of Frühlingssehnsucht, the simplicity of Ständchen and the withdrawn character of In der Ferne, where in the last stanza he colours the tone lighter and thinner but with dramatic intensity up to the last thundering chord. Abschied is on the surface a jolly song, but in reality it is a man who tries to keep smiling while saying a painful farewell. The darker undercurrents come well to the fore in Oliemans reading. The four Schulze settings, well known on their own, stand out as even more masterly in this surrounding. About Im Walde I wrote: Marvellous reading! Worthy to stand beside Fischer-Dieskau! Regular readers may know that I am an inveterate admirer of the latter who, incidentally, was one of Oliemans teachers. Der Atlas, always the apex of Schwanengesang, also gets a magnificent interpretation. Then there is a lot of hushed intimacy in some of the following Heine songs, only to grab the listener by the throat in the frightening Der Doppelgänger with a tremendous build-up and the voice filled with pain. Die Taubenpost is a winning postlude. By this issue Thomas Oliemans confirms the great impression he made with his previous recital. There is also a Winterreise that I haven t heard. He is now one of the most thrilling young baritones around. Göran Forsling --http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Apr11/Schubert_Schwanengesang_KTC1420.htm
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