Schubert: Lieder (Hyperion Schubert Edition Vol. 18)

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LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Lieder (Hyperion Schubert Edition Vol. 18)
PERFORMER: Peter Schreier (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
This recording marks the halfway point in the Hyperion Schubert Edition. Graham Johnson’s mission to record all of Schubert’s songs by the bicentenary of the composer’s birth (1997) is proving a cumulatively addictive pleasure, and his detailed research and sleeve-notes provide the proverbial icing on the cake. Peter Schreier radiates a tenor sound of liquid silver which he uses to shade and shape every verse on this disc of (modified) strophic songs, creating moods and colours of great depth and variety. From the energetic ‘Erntelied’ to the poignant ‘An die Entfernte’, Schreier reveals his unique gift for honing the tools of vowels, consonants and breath into highly-charged, expressive deliveries of the text. In the settings from Schulze’s Poetisches Tagebuch – which Johnson considers precursors of the Winterreise cycle – Schubert flavours the strophic form with flirtations in major and minor modes and alternations of duple and triple time – the reflective and rather tortured ‘Im Jänner 1817 (Tiefes Leid)’ being a prime example. ‘Auf der Bruck’, with the driving, tempestuous accompaniment brilliantly executed by Johnson, is a tremendous performance. There is palpable tenderness in ‘Um Mitternacht’, and an exquisite reading of one of Schubert’s most famous songs, ‘Im Frühling’. This is an outstanding disc in a distinguished series. Elisse McDougall