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Schubert Lieder

Röschmann / Bostridge / Quastoff Trio

Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt D 478/I; Wer nie sein Brot mit Tranen ass D478/ii; An die Turen will ich schleichen D478/iii;  An Mignon D161; Mignon und der Harfner D877; Heiss mich nicht redden D877/ii; So lasst mich scheinen D877/iii; Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt D877/iv; Kennst du das Land D321; Normans Gesang D846; Ganymed D544; Grenzen der menschheit D716; Erlkonig D328; Kantate zum Geburtstag das Sangers Johann Michael Vogl D666; Der Konig in Thule D367; Gretchenam Spinnrade D118; Gretchens Bitte D564; Szene aus Faust D126; Licht und Liebe D352; Der Hochzeitsbraten D930 

Dorothea Röschmann – soprano
Ian Bostridge – tenor
Thomas Quasthoff – baritone
Julius Drake - piano 

The Barbican Hall, 14 January 2008 

This was an evening of song which will live in my memory for a long time!  Four internationally acclaimed artists joined forces at the Barbican to guide us on a journey through the many moods of Schubert’s music for voice.    

This was not one of those occasions when the audience could just sit back and simply enjoy the beauty of the music, nor were the performers afraid to seek the uncomfortable - indeed the concert started in an atmosphere of almost abject misery.  Ian Bostridge, with his voice refined and concentrated into something as thin and pliable as a reed, gave a totally credible impression of the old Harper constantly bewailing his fate – “eating his bread with tears”.   

The arrival of Mignon, in the person of Dorothea Roschmann, added a lighter strand with their voices blending very well in Mignon und der Harfner. 

Next Roschmann on her own, with warm toned clarity, was perfect as the wistful Mignon.  The gentle piano accompaniment was played with great delicacy by Julius Drake as Mignon recounts her terrible loss, and the final song becoming quite insistent with the repeated Dahin! Dahin!s 

Whist still drawing on tales of historic romance, Thomas Quastoff changed the mood to something more robust with the marching beat of Normans Gesang, in one of the sub-plots to Scott’s The Lady of the Lake.  The arching lines of Ganymed are more often associated with a tenor voice, but Quastoff made them his own and immediately contrasted them with Grenzen der menschheit with its majestic very dark, deep notes, finally rounding off the section with Erlkonig with a perfection borne of long practice. 

All three singers joined forces to end the first half of the concert with a surprisingly lyrical birthday cantata written for Michael Vogl. 

After the interval attention was focussed on the Faust legend with Roschmann delivering her four songs in a voice pouring out like liquid gold, and leading without pause into Schubert’s fragmentary operatic Scene from Faust, where was Quastoff delightedly gloating as the evil spirit.    

Licht und Liebe led us back from the abyss and towards the straightforward cheerfulness of Der Hochzeitsbraten with its light hearted operetta style.  As the bride and bridegroom make their way through the forest in search of a hare for their wedding feast the soprano has to negotiate repeated shushing and warning sounds Gsch! Gsch! Prr! Prr! The gamekeeper apprehends them and some tricky negotiations are needed to bring proceedings to a happy ending with a jolly yodelling La la la … 

Serena Fenwick