Schubert, Schumann, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,Beethoven,Mozart,Schubert,Schumann
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Thomas Quasthoff: A Portrait
WORKS: Songs by Schubert & Schumann; Bach: arias from St John Passion; Opera arias by Mozart & Beethoven
PERFORMER: Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone); various singers, pianists, orchestras and conductors
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 86952 2 Reissue (1992-8)
Thomas Quasthoff’s warm, mahogany bass-baritone, perfectly even throughout its range, is one of the most appealing and distinctive voices around today. And everything he does here has character and presence. Fine as they are, the two grisly Schubert ballads, ‘Erlkönig’ and ‘Der Zwerg’, lack the ultimate frisson of a Schreier or Fischer-Dieskau. But ‘Prometheus’ is magnificent in its mingled nobility and sneering defiance. And the assorted Mozart portraits all have ‘face’: a subtle, thinking man’s Leporello and Papageno, a Sarastro who sounds more youthful, less sacerdotal than usual, and a suave yet commanding Count in Figaro. Only the ‘Pa-Pa’ duet misses the mark, with a matronly Montserrat Caballé surely the most unlikely Papagena of all time. RCA supplies full texts but cynically stints on translations. Richard Wigmore