LABELS: Harmonia Mundi Les nouveaux interprtes
PERFORMER: Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMN 911648
More and still more Schubert. This time, a young Swiss bass-baritone, little known in the UK and US other than in recordings, takes on a selection of Lieder, presented neither chronologically nor thematically, but very much, as the name of this nouveaux interprètes label implies, as a Lieder visiting card.
The voice of the 28-year-old Müller-Brachmann does not possess the natural seductive beauty of contemporaries such as Goerne or Genz, nor yet the profundity and depth of resonance of a Robert Holl. But with guidance and stimulating support from his accompanist Malcolm Martineau, he finds a range of eloquence to propel the listener from the flight of ‘Der Musensohn’ – taken at a daring lick for the weight of the voice – to the depths of a ‘Fahrt zum Hades’.
Müller-Brachmann can be a fearless bareback rider for ‘Auf der Bruck’, yet can fine down his voice to sigh through the long vowels of ‘Nachtstück’ and the two Goethean ‘Wandrers Nachtlieder’. Voice and artistry are still developing: tauter rhythmic definition in ‘Der Zwerg’ and a more warmly expansive conclusion to Schiller’s ‘Sehnsucht’ could make his performance even more exciting. And so would text translations and some decent booklet notes, particularly for newcomers to Lieder. Hilary Finch