Schubert: Licht und Liebe
This disc is for the real Schubert connoisseur. It’s a recreation of a Schubertiad: an evening of vocal solos, duets, trios and quartets to be sung at gatherings of friends. The recital is a delight from start to finish, warmly recorded, accompanied by Christoph Berner on a gentle-toned Roenisch fortepiano, and with the delectable articulation you’d expect from four native German speakers.
There are songs extolling the joys of a hangover (a robustly sung, yet delicately blended quartet); and there is an 11-minute playlet about a perilous hunt for a hare for a wedding breakfast (Der Hochzeitsbraten). There’s also a hefty handful of sacred songs (mainly written to commission) which scale the heights of Klopstock’s and Schiller’s epic verse, in noble tones worthy (and reminiscent) of Handel and Haydn.
The recital is made all the more attractive by being interspersed with solos – one for each singer. Marlis Petersen enjoys the teasing ambiguities of love in her ‘Lied der Delphine’; Anke Vondung offers a coy refusal of love, while Berner’s fluttering fingers imply her heart thinks differently. Werner Gura, as storyteller supreme, is assigned Goethe’s Der Sänger (one of the Harper’s songs from Wilhelm Meister); and bass Konrad Jarnot, alone of the soloists, seems to tense up for the might of Der Allmacht.
Typical of Harmonia Mundi, the disc is beautifully produced, with liner-notes and pictures that provide context.