Schumann: Liederkreis op.39, 12 Gedichte op.35
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It is fortunate in these beleaguered times that even if record companies can no longer support major opera recordings and symphonic works, the relatively cheap process of recording the great song repertories, whether German, French, Russian, American or whatever, is still going strong. Well here is a song record well worth buying, whether you are new to the medium or already a registered addict. Matthias Goerne has a voice as smooth and rich as Haagen Daas. And of course he's a native German speaker which means that the poems really mean something to him in their original language. Add to that combination a pianist who has worked with Goerne long enough to second-guess his every gesture, and some of the greatest songs Schumann (or anyone else for that matter) ever wrote, and you are on to a winner. Liederkreis isn't a through-written cycle as such, but a series of 12 songs which explore the many facets of love (written when Schumann was in the throes of it himself)--from the ardour of "Lust der Sturmnacht" ("Stormy night") to the pain of "Wehmut" ("Melancholy"), it's all here. Goerne doesn't simply perform these pieces, he lives them. The lesser known Op. 35 settings are similarly inspired, though more relentlessly dark--no happy endings here. A life-enhancing disc, matched by exemplary notes and recording. --Harriet Smith
Top Customer Reviews
Really, for me, unless you want Opus 39 in particular (which really is a tenor cycle: Schumann says so himself in "Stirb Lieb' und Freud'") your choice will be dictated here by whether you like Goerne's approach or not. His is a large, quite roomy baritone sound, and you should definitely compare it to the much more focused sound of Christian Gerhaher's recent disc. I personally find it a little over the top at times, and the vocal effects (such as the falsetto to reach the top G), but these are deeply-felt performances and I have enjoyed listening to this CD for some years now. A good choice, if not by any means the definitive choice.