Songs of Love, Longing, and Loss
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Subtlety and intimacy seem to be the inspiration for this truly wonderful set of Schumann's songs of love remembered, lost, and longed for, and Matthias Goerne interprets them to perfection. Goerne's voice is rich and elegant and text-sensitive and when he sings the softer songs here, his mastery of technique is one of wonder.
Not all of the songs included in this recital are well known: many of these selections are from both ends of the composer's life spectrum. This recording should bring the lesser-known songs to the attention of other singers! Though Goerne's voice is never less than beautiful his forte appears to be the quiet, intimate songs where he is able to create a delicacy and sadness that are almost unbearably lovely.
Goerne is ably partnered by Eric Schneider at the piano. They communicate well and demonstrate that mutual respect that signals fine collaboration. This is a treasureable album and is further evidence that Matthias Goerne is one of our leading lieder recitalists today. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, June 05"
Heartfelt singing, but the material is very uneven
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 05/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I sympathize with the Amazon reviewer, who seems to love -- or wants to love -- Schumann's later songs. In this recital Matthias Goerne (in his edgy skinhead phase, as the cover photo attests) clearly wants to make a case for 25 songs, usually no more than 2 min. long, that are at times barren, emotionally disjointed, confusing, or simply inexplicable. The sad fact is that Schumann's gradual but steady mental breakdown infected his later songs with distressing symptoms, and although I love his lieder, wandering through the weak ones is no pleasure.
To offset them, there are perhaps eight or nine well-known songs, all form early opus numbers. Goerne is not uniformly successful in them. Because he applies the same honeyed lyricism to everything, he misfires in 'Balsazar,' which needs far more narrative spine, and the boisterous soldiers of "Beiden Grenadiere" could be cooing at a tea party. When Goerne's method suits a song perfectly, as in "Du bist wie eine Blume," thee results are ravishing.
All told, I wonder how much enjoyment a newcomer to Schumann would get form this CD. There are fifty or more lieder from this composer at the height of his powers, all of which should be heard first. Eric Schneider is a good accompanist but has no special ideas or style. Decca's sound is faithful to Goerne's smooth, resonant voice."