An Die Geliebte

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,R Strauss,Weber,Wolf
LABELS: Myrios Classics
ALBUM TITLE: An Die Geliebte
WORKS: Songs by Beethoven, R Strauss, Weber and Wolf
PERFORMER: Julian Prégardien (tenor); Christoph Schnackertz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MYR012 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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Yes, he’s Christoph Prégardien’s son: 30 years old, and a tenor too, his voice sweeter and silkier than his father’s, but characterised by that same delectable enunciation and high intelligence. And this is his first and highly auspicious Lied album. It’s a painstakingly researched and meticulously prepared recital focusing on the sort of unrequited love that flourished in the days of the Romantic poets.

Prégardien’s starting point is Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte: the very first through-composed song-cycle. The tenor’s voice is gently hushed, and the music winsomely embellished here and there. I particularly like the lack of that grandiloquent drawing back at the end which is so unconvincing yet so often heard. Prégardien then offers a rarely heard series of songs by Weber. A theme with delectable variations sets caricatures of four lovers whose emotions epitomise the four temperaments – all irresistibly characterised here.

 And, in another delightful pairing, Strauss’s flower songs, the Mädchenblumen – more often sung by a soprano, and revealing fresh nuances of timbre and harmony in their original tenor version – meet six Mörike settings by Wolf. Both Prégardien and his excellent pianist Christoph Schnackertz, exquisitely capture the quicksilver, volatile spirit of Wolf’s responses. And the recording disperses and distributes the sound completely naturally.

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Hilary Finch