Schubert: The Therese Grob Songbook,

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Somm
WORKS: The Therese Grob Songbook,
PERFORMER: Dorothee Jansen (soprano), Francis Grier (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SOMMCD 223
Schubert was almost as precocious as Mendelssohn and wrote some of his greatest songs as a teenager, among them ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’, the first modern German song, someone once said. Therese Grob was the girl Schubert hoped to marry and most of the songs Schubert gave her on her 18th birthday in 1816 appear elsewhere in slightly different, now better known, versions. Dorothee Jansen’s voice is not without its flaws and the six verses of ‘Litanei’ give you ample opportunity to catalogue its idiosyncrasies. To me, Jansen sounds a bit like a teenage boy singing falsetto and perhaps her operatic career has taken its toll. ‘Lied aus der Ferne’ definitely needs an easier, lighter lyricism, but she does seem to mean all the words of every song, and projects them with energy. She also sings in tune – a virtue less often met with than you would think. It’s a great pity that the piano has been recorded as if it is in the background, for Francis Grier plays with real distinction and the sound of the instrument, aside from the fact that it is too quiet, is lovely. Adrian Jack

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