Beethoven; Mozart; Haydn

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven; Mozart; Haydn
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Beethoven An die ferne Geliebte; Mailied; Neue Liebe, neues Leben; Aus Goethes Faust (Song of the Flea); Adelaide; Selbstgespräch; Resignation; An die Hoffnung; Abendlied unterm gestirnten Himmel; Mozart: Das Veilchen; Abendempfindung; Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls; Haydn: She never told her love; Hark! What I tell to thee (The Spirit Song); Antwort auf die Frage eines Mädchens
PERFORMER: Mark Padmore (tenor), Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907611

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With a well-received Schumann recording behind them, tenor Mark Padmore and fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout here turn their attention to the heart of the Viennese classical tradition. They perform songs by Haydn, Mozart – including the late Masonic cantata Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls – and Beethoven, including the song cycle An die ferne Geliebte.

Padmore is sparing with vibrato, but he’s an imaginative and expressive performer, assiduously seeking out the meaning of the texts. His searching approach pays dividends in Haydn’s sombre The Spirit’s Song and in the Mozart cantata, where he brings a fine sense of rhetoric into play. Beethoven’s Neue Liebe, neues Leben finds him full of positive energy, with a ringing top register, while both he and Bezuidenhout capture the satirical wit of Goethe’s Song of the Flea. To An die ferne Geliebte Padmore brings a keen narrative connection and sense of flow; indeed, this extended and historically important piece is beautifully managed by both artists.

There’s a keen sense of working hand-in-glove between the two performers, shown at its best, for instance, in Mozart’s Das Veilchen, where the rhythmic freedom of Bezuidenhout’s poised and sensitive musicianship matches Padmore’s approach perfectly. He is playing an instrument by the Viennese maker Michael Rosenberger of around 1820, its unequal temperament giving the accompaniments an unusually strong and gamey tonal character.

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George Hall