R Strauss Lieder
Sopranos have ruled the roost of Strauss songs for so long that it’s easy to forget that Strauss wrote his first published set – the eight songs of Op. 10 featured here – with a tenor in mind. But never mind the voice-type; all that matters is the artistry. Soft, inward rapture for ‘Ständchen’ is Behle’s excellent starting point, an intimacy he uses to make his mark in the familiar ‘Zueignung’, ‘Cäcilie’ and ‘Morgen’, where the voice touches lightly and never sentimentally on the piano melody so gracefully sung by the subtle Oliver Schnyder.
An easy confidentiality never allows over-inflection here. Behle has licence to do all the dynamics and colours in the quirkier Schack settings of Op. 19, framed by a Wolf-like elusiveness which tenor and pianist effortlessly share (the only problem with the piano sound is a tendency to diffuseness in the bigger moments, which may be the fault of the recording or the instrument). Whether or not the studio tells the truth, Behle is also able to bring a heroic sheen to the refulgent climaxes of ‘Ich liebe dich’ and ‘Breit über mein Haupt’ which makes comparison with Jonas Kaufmann not inappropriate; but in any case this is a tenor with a candid, easy approach all his own.