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Len Mullenger:

SCHUBERT Shepherd on the Rock, SCHUMANN & LACHNER Frauenliebe und leben, SPOHR Six German songs    Evelyn Tubb (soprano) Lesley Schtazberger (clarinet) Richard Burnett (fortepiano)  Classicprint CPV005CD 61'16"

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This is an interesting compilation, packaged attractively in the new fold-out style - 'an environmentally sound alternative to the plastic jewel case' (there is correspondence about the merits and demerits of these in Gramophone).

It was recorded at Finchcocks in Kent, where Richard Burnett presides over his wonderful collection of historic pianos, and he plays his own Graf (1826) which sounds fine. The clarinet used is a copy of an 1810 instrument, made of boxwood, with eight keys. The very personal notes are contributed by each of the artists and document their collaboration. Track times are provided, but not the total, and my copy had to be replaced because the last track was faulty.

Evelyn Tubb's voice is a little quivery and insecure at times, but she sings with intensity and conviction, portraying better than some heavier voices Schumann's vulnerable young girl, discovering love & the joy of motherhood and the grief which followed the premature death of her husband. It is not a competitive version of this famous song cycle, but goes very well with Burnett's accompaniment, as do the Schubert and Spohr songs for all three musicians. Franz Paul Lachner (1803-90) is not a household name, but he is surprisingly well represented in the CD catalogues. However, his setting, for voice with piano and clarinet, of the first poem of Schumann's cycle, Seit ich ihn gesehen, shows up the difference between an ordinary composer and a great one, and leaves me less than eager to follow up Lachner!


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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