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Franz Schubert: Nacht und Träume D. 827 – Der blinde Knabe D. 833 – Hoffnung D. 637 – Totengräberweise D. 869 – Tiefes Leid D. 876 – Greisengesang D. 778 – Totengräbers Heimweh D. 842 – An den Mond D. 193 – Die Mainacht D. 194 – An Silvia D. 891 – Ständchen D. 889 – Der Schäfer und der Reiter D. 517 – Die Sommernacht D. 289 – Erntelied D. 434 – Herbstlied D. 502 – Die liebliche Stern D. 861 – An die Geliebte D. 303
Matthias Goerne (baritone), Alexander Schmalcz (piano)
Recording Teldex Studio Berlin (September 2008) – 60’40
harmonia mundi HMC 902063 – Booklet in German, English, and French

This superb recording is the Fifth Edition in the ongoing series of Franz Schubert songs by the distinguished baritone from Weimar Matthias Goerne. Goerne was a student of both Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, and, for better or worse, he has, within only a few short years, become the world’s pre-eminent exponent of Schubert lieder, inheriting the mantle of Fisher-Dieskau. The excellent pianist in this recording, Alexander Schmalcz, was presented the Gerald Moore Award for piano accompanists in 1996. He has concertized with such famous singers as Grace Bumbry, Peter Schreier, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Eva Mei, and Stephan Loges. He has appeared at the Salzburg Festival, the Prague Spring Festival, and at Tanglewood, as well as the stages of the ROH Covent Garden, the Téâtre du Chatalet, and the Kennedy Center. His collaboration here with Matthias Goerne is a most happy one.

The songs in this collection range from the familiar and beloved such as An Silvia, Ständchen, and Nacht und Träume to the lesser known like Totengräberweise, Der Schäfer und der Reiter, and Erntelied. Most of the songs are characterized by Schubert’s obsession with the presence of death that pervades so much of his music. For Schubert music was a matter of Life and Death. Of his thirteen brothers and sisters only five were destined to live. This could only have left a deep mark on Schubert’s psyche.

Matthias Goerne sings these songs with great restraint and close attention to the detail of Schubert’s markings. There is none of the exaggeration and eccentricities that mark so many of his contemporaries in this music, like the English tenor Ian Bostridge. He lets the music speak for itself and in doing so he is able to create a tangible emotion. His interpretations call forth a yearning, an imagination, and a spiritual communion without the use of vocal histrionics. His singing makes for profound listening and it reveals much in the music that you may not have heard before. This is a great recording and one you will want to own.

Micaele Sparacino




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