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Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition 22
Poets of Sensibility, Vol. 5: Ludwig Kosegarten (1758–1818)
Geist der Liebe, D233² [2:18]; Das Finden, D219² [2:54]; Alles um Liebe, D241¹ [2:24]; Huldigung, D240² [2:15]; Die Erscheinung, D229² [2:55]; Die Täuschung, D230¹ [2:04]; Der Abend, D 221² [3:53]; Die Mondnacht, D238¹ [2:41]; Nachtgesang, D314³ [2:44]; Abends unter der Linde, D235² [3:07]; Das Sehnen, D231³ [2:21]; Luisens Antwort, D319¹ [2:50]; Abends unter der Linde, D237¹ [3:23]; An Rosa I, D315² [0:49]; An Rosa II, D316² [4:01]; An die untergehende Sonne, D457¹ [6:23]; Die Sterne, D313² [2:45]; Idens Nachtgesang, D227¹ [2:14]; Von Ida, D228¹ [1:32]; Idens Schwanenlied, D317¹ [3:18]; Schwangesang, D318³ [4:14];
Lydia Teuscher (soprano)¹; Marcus Ullman (tenor)²; Thomas Bauer (baritone)³; Ulrich Eisenlohr (fortepiano)
rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany, 10-14 November 2003, 12-16 January 2004, 2-3 November 2005
NAXOS 8.557373 [61:04]

The mastermind behind this Schubert project and the main accompanist is Ulrich Eisenlohr. For the “Poets of Sensibility” volumes he has chosen to play a fortepiano, or Hammerflügel as it is in German, to achieve a more authentic sound than when a modern concert grand. The instrument Eisenlohr uses is not among the frailest in tone but it still lends a more intimate atmosphere and he has been able to pick singers with lighter voices. All three are well suited to the songs they sing and taken as a whole this is a good enough disc. That said we are not meeting Schubert at his most inspired – none of the songs are real top-drawer compositions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are uninteresting. Just as gourmets don’t have to be served pâté de foie gras every time they sit down at a table, the lover of Lieder can enjoy slighter fare than Winterreise or Erlkönig without feeling unduly short-changed. Der Abend, Mondnacht (not the poem that Brahms also set – his is a text by Eichendorff) and Nachtgesang are worthy of a place in any collection of Lieder.
Eisenlohr’s playing has been praised on many occasions and certainly he listens and responds attentively to his singers. The two male singers here have appeared before in this series but Lydia Teuscher is a new name. Born in Germany she studied in Wales and in Mannheim and from September 2006 is engaged at the Semperoper in Dresden, singing Pamina, Susanna, Nanetta and Gretel. This should be enough to give an indication of her voice-type. It is a light, bright, lyric soprano, crystal clear like rippling spring water. Londoners may already have heard her at Wigmore Hall. She makes a good impression, calling to mind the Lieder singing of, say, Rita Streich. This implies that she does not have all the colours and inflexions of an Elisabeth Schwarzkopf but she nevertheless charms through her youthful freshness.
Marcus Ullmann has made a name for himself as a splendid Mozart singer. He has sung Bach and Haydn, but is also a busy Lieder singer, having studied with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Born near Dresden, he started singing in the Dresden Kreutzchor, as did another well-known Dresdener, Peter Schreier. He is an elegant singer, phrasing exquisitely in a manner not too far removed from Schreier’s, sometimes even adopting a tone that is slightly reminiscent of that of his predecessor. Das Finden (tr. 2) shows him to good advantage; even better is An Rosa II (tr. 15).
The third singer, Thomas Bauer, who has now dropped his “E”, is certainly one of the best among the new generation German Lieder singers. He is expressive and is in total command of his flexible voice. He only appears in three songs but they stand out. Nachtgesang (tr. 9) is a recommended starting point.
The recording sessions were spread over a period of two years but I cannot detect any discrepancies in recording balance or acoustics. It is still to be regretted that Naxos no longer include the texts in the quite meagre booklet, but instead refer the purchaser to the internet.
Without being a tremendously necessary buy – unless you want the complete series – this is still a pleasant disc, showing that even unknown songs have their attractions – when sung as well as they are here.
Göran Forsling

see also review by Randolph Magri-Overend

Naxos Schubert Lieder Edition page

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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