Schubert: Lieder Vol 1
Schubert: Lieder Vol 1
1998 | EMI Classics
Ian Bostridge (tenor)
After having taken us unflinchingly and unsparingly on journeys through the song cycles of Schubert and Schumann, Ian Bostridge now indulges us with a thrillingly programmed recital of 22 of Schubert’s best known songs. But did we ever really know them before? This is one of the questions provoked by singing of such extraordinary intimacy and generosity. There is even the momentary illusion of the songs being sung in one’s own language, so immediate is Bostridge’s engagement, and ours.
‘Die Forelle’ fuses external image and internal emotion so entirely that a whole miniature cosmos of human experience is distilled in a flashing drop of water. Bostridge’s own wide-eyed imagination is enriched here, and in the gripping narratives of ‘Der Zwerg’ and an exceptional ‘Erlkönig’ by the ever-increasing empathy of Julius Drake’s piano playing.
Listen, for instance, to the way Bostridge heightens the velocity of ‘Der Musensohn’ by focusing on its verbs rather than its nouns. Or how a sense of total weightlessness is created by the control of breath and head voice in ‘Nacht und Träume’ and, most beautifully of all, in the hushed internalisation of ‘Über allen Gipfeln’. The more you listen to this disc, the more you will hear – for a long time.
Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)
— BBC Music Magazine
Ian Bostridge has chosen a kaleidoscopic variety of songs by the greatest of all songwriters. The attractions and challenges of these songs are poetic and dramatic as well as musical, and Bostridge and Drake mobilize a wide range of expressive skills to reinforce their pure musicianship. They are intensely involved in storytelling in the playfully serious “Die Forelle” (The Trout) and “Heidenroeslein” (Wild Rose), in the grotesque “Der Zwerg” (The Dwarf) and the spooky “Erlkonig,” which gallops through a story of a fruitless race against death. Tranquility reigns in the “Wandrers Nachtlied” (Wanderer’s Night Song) I and II; hushed awe in “An die Musik” (To Music–a performance that brings tears to my eyes) and “Du bist die Ruh” (You are Peace); and idealistic love in the Shakespearean “An Sylvia” (“To Sylvia”). Each song creates a world of its own, superbly embodied in these performances. –Joe McLellan