Heimat: Baritone Benjamin Appl sings works by Schubert, Wolf, Brahms, Poulenc, R Strauss & Grieg

COMPOSERS: Brahms,Poulenc,R Strauss & Grieg,Schubert,Wolf
LABELS: Sony
ALBUM TITLE: Heimat
WORKS: Heimat: songs by Schubert, Wolf, Brahms, Poulenc, R Strauss & Grieg
PERFORMER: Benjamin Appl (baritone), James Baillieu (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 88985393032

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Benjamin Appl is not only a singer of boundless promise, he is already a great artist. This disc shows how versatile he is, with not only great Lieder but interesting rarities too. Many of the pieces are by Schubert, but there’s also one in French and several in English, including ‘Home, Sweet home’, though the others, by Britten, Vaughan Williams, Warlock and Ireland, do more to add to our growing awareness of the great tradition of English songs.

In a moving and helpful note, Appl writes about the concept of Heimat, which basically means ‘home’ but whose connotations are wider than that. The sense of belonging, combined with the urge to travel and experience life to the full, is the underlying theme of this recital. So instead of the feeling one has often with song recitals, that one has to keep changing gear randomly every two or three minutes, there is a thread here which makes it a more unified experience.

Appl was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s last pupil, but his singing is firmly based in legato, and the expression comes through the music, whereas Fischer-Dieskau often seemed to apply it from outside. Appl sounds as if singing is his most natural mode of expression; and since he has an extraordinarily beautiful voice, there should be decades of happiness as he continues to expand his repertoire.

Michael Tanner

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Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.