LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert
WORKS: Songs, Vol. 2: Im Frühling; Aus ‘Heliopolis’ I & II; Die Forelle, etc
PERFORMER: Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WHLive 0077
Recorded live in May 2014, this Schubert recital offers a wide-ranging selection of songs. Julius Drake is a calm and authoritative presence, seeking out and highlighting niceties of Schubert’s piano writing. Ian Bostridge, meanwhile, shows a careful attention to the text, though sometimes vocal limitations prevent him from entirely realising his artistic intentions. There’s a lack of colouristic range, for instance, in ‘Tiefes Leid’, while in ‘Auf der Brücke’ a bigger, richer tone is ideally needed. But he offers a fine exploration of the wan and cheerless ‘Aus Heliopolis I’ and there’s a real sense of wonder to ‘Auf der Riesenkoppe’, while in ‘Sei mir gegrüsst!’ he displays an exceptional range of vision.
Where an ability to unfold a narrative is crucial – ‘Abendbilder’ and ‘Atys’, for example – Bostridge holds the listener’s attention. Elsewhere, though, high notes can be effortful, as in ‘Des Fischers Liebesglück’, and the extremely sombre ‘Totengräbers Heimweh’ pushes Bostridge’s voice beyond its limits. The best things here, however – the troubled ‘Ins stille Land’, and the lyrical ‘Der liebliche Stern’ – repay repeated listening. George Hall