Schubert: Lieder, Vol. 2

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Lieder, Vol. 2
PERFORMER: Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 57141 2
Ian Bostridge revisits Schubert in this, his second volume of Lieder, at a stage in his career when critics, both professional and amateur, are scrutinising his progress most closely, ready to pounce on any weakness which might compromise the seemingly unstoppable rise and rise. This disc will confound them. It is quite simply the best that Bostridge has yet offered us.

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There’s a darker tone now, filling his distinctive tenor timbre, and giving it the extra body and resonance necessary to bear the shadows of Schubert’s Mayrhofer settings: the existential darkness of that Caspar David moonscape of a ‘Nachtstück’; or the spiritual agitation behind the awe of ‘Auf der Donau’.

Yet the voice is still, when it needs to be, tremulous with that youthful plangency which immediately identifies Bostridge. In the six Goethe settings of this recital, the shy sensuousness of ‘Geheimes’ is heightened by a minute gasp of rubato; and the liveliness of individual words kickstarts the gallop of ‘Willkommen und Abschied’ into new life.

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In addition to this, a lithe, lilting ‘Alinde’, with Julius Drake’s ubiquitously sensitive piano-playing; quite the most honeyed ‘Sei mir gegrüsst’ on disc; and a highly mischievous ‘Geistertanz’ set their seal on an exceptional recital. Hilary Finch