Schubert: Schwanengesang

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

LABELS: ASV Quicksilva
WORKS: Schwanengesang
PERFORMER: Ian Partridge (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone), Jennifer Partridge, Steuart Bedford (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD QS 6171 ADD (1977/75)
At budget price, this compilation of some favourite Schubert songs by two very English singers will be attractive to many people, though the Partridges did Die schöne Müllerin, on Classics for Pleasure, much better than this selection. It includes the very unusual, broadly operatic ‘Auflösung’, which strains Partridge’s soft-grained, rather baritone-like tenor. He does some of the gentler songs nicely, but the voice sometimes sounds a bit weedy, and sometimes approaches a hoot.


John Shirley-Quirk, here singing the Schwanengesang collection, is really a bass-baritone, and in the first two songs he adopts a heave-ho style of manly posturing. In ‘Ständchen’ and ‘In der Ferne’, he struggles for delicacy, and in ‘Die Taubenpost’ he is breathily tremulous. Two dramatic songs, ‘Der Atlas’ and ‘Der Doppelgänger’, suit him much better. Steuart Bedford, better known as a conductor, is a good partner, though very discreet. Adrian Jack