COMPOSERS: Franz Schubert
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert Erlkönik
WORKS: Im Abendrot; Der Wanderer; Nachviolen; Im Walde; Normans Gesang; Erlkönig
PERFORMER: Matthias Goerne (baritone), Andreas Haefliger (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 902141
This is a wonderful recital, in almost all respects. The first thing to grab my attention was the mesmerisingly lovely playing of Andreas Haefliger, one of the greatest living pianists, I think, and oddly underrated. His introduction to the first song Im Abendrot (At sunset) is so remarkable that I played it several times before Matthias Goerne entered, his velvety tones perfectly matching Haefliger’s. The range of songs on this disc is wide, as in the previous volumes of this mainly excellent series. Some of Schubert’s most famous songs are here, such as Der Erlkönig, where Haefliger’s accompaniment is so vivid that I’d enjoy it by itself; Goerne doesn’t characterise the three persons as much as many singers, but he still packs a stunning punch.
This disc could almost be called ‘Bipolar Schubert’, for zestful outbursts of energy alternate with low spirits. ‘There where you are not – there is happiness’ is how Der Wanderer concludes. Both these great artists are up for anything Schubert offers them, and I would rank this among the finest recital discs I have ever heard. My only reservation – it sometimes became quite strong – is the very close miking, which not only means that every breath of Goerne’s is caught, but sometimes results in strange balancing of voice and piano. If you can cope with that, you’ll find this recital both powerful and completely without mannerism or exaggeration.