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Schubert: Songs, Vol. 3

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake (Wigmore Hall Live)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
CD_WHLive0088_Schubert_CMYK

Schubert Songs, Vol. 3
Das Heimweh, Sehnsucht, Im Freien, Bei dir allein!, Der Wanderer an den Mond, Das Zügenglöcklein etc
Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano)
Wigmore Hall Live WHLive 0088 79:31 mins

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This Schubert recital focuses on the broad theme of ‘longing’ – which can (and does) cover many songs from the composer’s astonishingly large output, both familiar and unfamiliar. Even for many of the composer’s most ardent admirers there are likely to be worthwhile discoveries here. Ian Bostridge’s commitment to Schubert remains exceptional, as does, too, that of his marvellous colleague Julius Drake at the piano – a player of complete technical authority, and surely the tenor’s equal as an expressive partner. Though Bostridge has his limitations – neither his range of tonal colour nor of dynamics is ideally wide – there are significant compensations in his heightened sensitivity to text and his impressive musicianship.

Among the highlights of this live recital, from 15 September 2014, are the rhetorical grandeur of Der Wanderer, the joint light-touch-approach to An die Laute, the conversational An mein Klavier and the perfect small-scale monodrama of Der zürnenden Diana, in which the goddess’s anger is visited upon the hapless (if unnamed) Actaeon. Elsewhere – as in Freiwilliges Versinken – the tenor’s mannerisms occasionally obtrude, while in the Walter Scott setting Normans Gesang he rises to petulance rather than anger. Drake’s eye for character foregrounds such accompanimental details as the repetitive nagging figure that runs throughout Hippolits Lied and the chirping crickets that keep Der Einsame (the recluse) company in his lonely dwelling. In sonic terms, meanwhile, the Wigmore audience are as quiet as mice.

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George Hall