Christopher Maltman

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Debussy,Duparc and Warlock,Schubert,Wolf
LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
WORKS: Songs by Schubert, Wolf, Debussy, Duparc and Warlock
PERFORMER: Christopher Maltman (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Wigmore Hall Live WHLive 0020

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The listener feels the room no more, But only music there.’ The line from Peter Warlock’s ‘The Singer’ sums up this latest release from the Wigmore Hall Live label.

It’s the 20th CD in this supremely collectable series, and Christopher Maltman is in his prime: communication is urgent and alive, and the voice ever more nuanced and expressive throughout both its vocal and dynamic range.

Maltman and his accompanist Julius Drake start bravely, with three of Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ songs. Their rhythmic clarity and pungent word-tasting are typical of a recital which reveals Maltman as a wonder-filled wanderer in the landscape of his own, and each successive composer’s, imagination.

For four of Hugo Wolf’s Mörike settings, both Maltman and Drake seize every micro-second to bring to life the terrifying pyromaniacal tableau vivant of ‘Der Feuerreiter’, or the wide-eyed ardour of ‘Der Gärtner’.

It’s Maltman’s superb breath control which gives shape and sensuous beauty to Debussy and Duparc. And, thanks to Drake’s restraining pace, Warlock’s ‘Captain Stratton’s Fancy’ has real swagger.

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The single encore is the tour de force of the evening. Flanders and Swann’s little masterpiece of botanical and human ‘Misalliance’, about the Honeysuckle and the Bindweed, ends the recital in rapturous applause.