Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

SCHUBERT Poets of Sensibility
Vol 3 Claudius, Hölty and Graf

Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Ulrich Eisenlohr (fortepiano)

Der Tod und das Mädchen; Der Leidende (3rd version) Totengräberlied; Die Mutter Erde; Der Liedende (2nd version); Die Nonne; Täglich zu singen; Klage (D371); Stimme der Liebe; Seufzer; An eine Quelle; An die Apfelbäume; Die frühe Liebe; An den Mond; Abendlied; Klage (D436); Auf den Tod einer Nachtigall D201 and D399); Auf dem Wasser zu singen; Lied in der Abwesenheit; Der Liebende; Minnelied; Der Traum; Seligkeit.

NAXOS 8.557568 [61 mins]

Here is a Schubert lieder recital to seriously challenge the Hyperion series, a ground breaking CD which for I have long being hoping. I had taken Graham Johnson to task for sticking to his Steinway whilst times have been changing*.

Since receiving the last of the series, briefly welcomed in a batch of new Naxos discs, I now have several others. The series is nearing completion, and I have no hesitation in urging everyone (especially those who have residual reservations about period pianos) to buy this one.

Here we have a great international singer of the younger generation in fine voice, accompanied by Eisenlohr sympathetically on a suitable-sounding fortepiano (details of the instrument not provided - a black mark there).* Every song, however slight, is afforded the greatest care and interpretative insight, backed up by notes by Ulrich Eisenlohr giving the background of the poets Claudius, Hölty and Graf.

Being a bargain issue, Naxos has provided German and English texts for reading from their website in convenient parallel format and clear, large print - or for printing out. Check it out before joining those who object to a wholly sensible policy; now that discs - absurdly - cost more than paper printing! (For some of us, Johnson's indispensible comprehensive booklet notes and words are quite a struggle to read; a book is promised and awaited.)

Peter Grahame Woolf

* Ulrich Eisenlohr writes: The instrument used on the "Poets of Sensibility" recordings is built by J.C.Neupert, Bamberg/Germany after Louis Dulcken, München, c.1815. It suits well Schubert's piano music and Lieder, if you do not have the chance to play on an original instrument. So "Poets of Sensibility" will continue with the fortepiano, up to Volume 6, which will appear end of 2007.

P.S. I have now been able to take time to sample the other releases in this series of "Poets of Sensibility", the deceptively slighter songs transformed by the fortepiano; I wonder if Eisenlohr is not now regretting haaving not grasped the period instrument nettle when he began the project? You may need a "name" singer to be tempted; Holzmair is joined by a delicious soprano, Birgid Steinberger, in Volume 4, and the first two create a real Songmakers Almanac feeling, with three excellent young singers taking turns [NAXOS 8.557569 & NAXOS 8.557371-372].

For reviews of other releases in this series, see the Naxos Deutsche Schubert-Lied Edition page e.g. - - what counts above all is Holzmair's penetration of text and meaning. Geoff Brown in The Times

*- - There are additional ‘bonus discs' of songs by forty of ‘Schubert's friends and contemporaries' also accompanied by Graham Johnson on a Steinway, but that modern instrument in this repertoire increasingly sounds anachronistic to my ears, and many of those slighter songs would have made a stronger impact with period instruments.- -