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Schumann: Liederkreis & Dichterliebe etc CD

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Feb. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000630K
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,809 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

EMI 556575 CDC; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Lirica Lied

Amazon.co.uk

The texts used in these 32 songs are all by Heinrich Heine, a miniaturist poet whose unique, characteristic mixture of wistfulness and irony, often tinged with self-pity, was ideal material for the genius of that wistful, ironic musical miniaturist, Robert Schumann. Every lover of Lieder must regret that Franz Schubert did not discover Heine until he was dying and composed only a few Heine songs in his Schwanengesang. But that regret is mitigated by the fact that Schumann gave so much attention to Heine during the brief, intense period when he was focused on song writing. Dichterliebe is one of the finest song cycles in the German language--surpassed, if at all, only by Schubert's Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise; and the other songs in this collection are comparable in quality. Bostridge's light, expressive voice captures every musical and emotional nuance and Drake plays masterfully the virtuoso piano part. --Joe McLellan

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Having just been listening to the opulence of Renee Fleming in Night Songs, it's true that Ian Bostridge's voice does have a certain thinness, but as you listen to the disc it starts to sound more and more suited to the songs, if not in the most obvious way. To say that only one type of voice is suitable seems an unnecessary limitation - it is the difference that opens up new things in the music. After a couple of songs I was totally won over by this sound, but then I do like Ian Bostridge generally. The programme is of Schumann's Heine settings, and most of the poems are full of disappointment, heartbreak, and various ways of dealing with it - putting on a brave face, crumpling up away from the society of men, self-pity, sardonic humour, the world of dreams. The songs are mainly short as Heine tends to be succinct and ironic. The warmth is there in Schumann's writing, always, but the sadness is acute, and very moving - who could listen to Hor' ich das Liedchen klingen without being profoundly affected? These two cycles also show Schumann's skill at writing piano postludes, which seem to continue the narrative, or comment on the mood, or take it further. Both are great, and show the composer to be the true heir to Schubert, the texts themselves being on an even higher level. Between the two sets come seven further Heine settings, four of them rejects from Dichterliebe. Ranging from the drama of Belsazar to the rumbustious Die beiden Grenadiere about two stranded soldiers singing of their loyalty to Napoleon, they provide relief from the intense gaze into the heart of the bigger works. Bostridge is fully alive to the drama in the words, always, indeed to every nuance, and Julius Drake brings out the colour of the piano writing while being very attuned to Bostridge's vocal projection.
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Format: Audio CD
Ian Bostridge is one of those poster boys only the English could ever produce. Latin America gives us Juan Diego Florez, Germany the smouldering Jonas Kaufmann, and we respond with a chap who looks like he should spend less time in draughty concert halls, and more time at home tucked up in bed. But, that is apparently what people want from an English tenor, judging at least by the number of discs bearing Bostridge's name.

So, is this worth your money? Well, the music on it should without doubt be in your collection: here are two of the greatest song-cycles of the 19th century, and a good tranche of other juicy numbers to boot, ranging from the delicious "Dein Angesicht" to the braggadocio of "Die beiden Grenadiere". What's more, the vast majority of the poems were written by Heinrich Heine, for the bitter, anguished quality of whose verse Schumann had a particular affinity.

And yet, it's really only worth three stars (despite Gramophone magazine rating this as their recommended recording of "Dichterliebe"), simply because Bostridge does not possess the qualities as an artist that are necessary for a great recording.

This is, I concede, a major criticism, but I'll justify my comments. Firstly, his voice, while initially attractive, quickly reveals itself to be a one-trick pony. Granted, there is a hysterical quality that is never far away which fits some of the music some of the time, but his range of colours is restricted simply by the thinness of his tone. What's more, the obvious flaws in his technique shine through (listen to verse 2 of "Berg' und Burgen" on first "tief", and his approaches to some of the high notes are either forced (as in "Es treibt mich hin"), or just unpleasant, as in "Lieb Liebchen".
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Format: Audio CD
Tastes in lieder singing vary a good deal, and I've always been most moved by singing that seems to my ears to hold the verbal, tonal, and linear aspects of the song in a balance. Bostridge seems to me to sing very vividly off the words, but the voice, simple as a voice, lacks the allure and the even-ness of emission that a singer like Holzmair or even Schreier exhibits. About the intelligence of his deployment of his voice, there is no doubt, and I have read that his recital appearances are gripping. On recordings, though, the compelling expressiveness doesn't come through as effectively. So, to my ears, his singing here is by no means bad, but it isn't as engaging as other accounts, by singers like Holzmair, Prey, and Fischer-Dieskau. When he's singing very softly, the voice is sweet -- under a little pressure, it bleaches out and becomes a little ragged. Bostridge is an astute enough interpreter to make expressive use of his instrument -- as Peter Pears could do, even when he wasn't in his best voice -- and so it's likely that other listeners will be less put off by the purely vocal limitations than I am. For expressive purposes, he's not afraid to whisper, and he's not afraid to shout. It's also possible that as he aged -- for this, from 1998. was one of his first recordings -- his voice gained some bloom and warmth (as Pavarotti's did, for example), but this one just isn't as interesting to me as some other versions are. The pianist, Julius Drake, plays well, but there isn't the sense of interaction between singer and pianist that, say, Imogen Cooper and Holzmair exhibit. The EMI sound is fine, but the Philips sound for Cooper and Holzmair seems to me just a bit warmer and more present too.
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