Schumann: Lieder

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Lieder
PERFORMER: Matthias Goerne (baritone), Eric Schneider (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 475 6012
No fancy title, no verbal hype – just Schumann Lieder, plain and simple. And, with Matthias Goerne as performer, one can rest assured that this is the perfect Schumann disc. And, thanks to the vivid, often unpredictable, character of Eric Schneider’s piano playing, and the excellent sound balance, this often feels more like a live than a recorded recital. There’s a preponderance of the slow, quiet, introverted songs at which Goerne, with his high intelligence and faultless technique, excels. And he continues to challenge himself. Was there ever, for instance, a slower ‘Meine Rose’, with the voice petal-soft, barely daring to touch Schumann’s melody? And, for Goethe’s ‘Nachtlied’, Goerne creates a sense of infinite distance in both space and time. Fully aware of his power to mesmerise an audience, Goerne wisely sets these show-stoppers within a most artfully paced programme. A reveille to freedom in the opening ‘Ins Freie’ draws back to the inwardness of a group of Heine settings, including ‘Du bist wie eine Blume’ and ‘Die Lotosblume’, each one moving where angels fear to tread. A moment of robust recovery, then more Heine: this time at his most disturbingly enigmatic. The emotional fragility of a group of Lenau songs gives way to two big set-pieces: ‘Die Löwenbraut’ and ‘Belsatzar’, each mini-drama superbly paced. And Goerne ends as he began, rapt and enraptured, this time with five Rückert settings. Hilary Finch