Schubert: 1816 Schubertiad: Lieder

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LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: 1816 Schubertiad: Lieder
PERFORMER: Lynne Dawson, Christine Schäfer (soprano), Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), John Mark Ainsley, Daniel Norman, Christoph Prégardien, Michael Schade, Toby Spence (tenor), Christopher Maltman, Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano); London Schubert Cho
Thirty-two down: five to go. The great Hyperion Schubert Edition is nearing completion, and this, the third and last 1816 Schubertiad, shows no signs of flagging energy or imagination in Graham Johnson’s generous compilation and performance of 23 songs from the 19-year-old Schubert’s relatively underestimated annus mirabilis.


This was not the year of ‘Gretchen’ or of ‘Erlkönig’; but Schubert was broadening and deepening his reading, and poets like Collin, Schlegel and Claudius inspired him to songs such as the duet ‘Licht und Liebe’, here eloquently sung by soprano Lynne Dawson and tenor Michael Schade, ‘Die verfehlte Stunde’ (soprano Christine Schäfer), and ‘Zufriedenheit’, here sung in its second version by baritone Stephen Varcoe.


Those names give some indication of just what a party this is: old friends and new – 20 of them in total here – are now appearing together in these spirited re-creations of the musical house parties of Schubert’s time. If further temptation were needed, look no further than tenor John Mark Ainsley’s contribution to the majestic Klopstock ode ‘Schlachtgesang’, Ann Murray’s rare Dido fragment, or young tenor Toby Spence’s rapturous ‘Entzückung’. As ever, illuminating words complement revelatory music-making in Graham Johnson’s copious notes and essays. Hilary Finch