Tully Potter writes in his note: In his enormous enthusiasm, backed up by his considerable skill, Schumann more or less invented the Romantic Lied, just as Schubert had virtually defined the Classical Lied. The two cycles featured here, Dichterliebe Op.48 for a male voice and Frauenliebe und leben Op.42 for a female voice, are perhaps the most personal products of 1840.
This is indeed a veritable treasure chest of Lieder singing for the real enthusiast, offering three versions of each of Schumann's finest song cycles, the one sung by three of the greatest male singers of the 30's and 40's and the other by their three female counterparts from the 40's and 50's.
There is intrinsic interest in being able to hear and compare their approaches to this lovely music and additional variety is added by the fact that all have a unique, distinctive, instantly recognisable sound: first, the plaintive, slightly grainy tenor of Aksel Schiøtz, recorded the year after his equally celebrated "Die Schöne Müllerin", also with Gerald Moore and just before the discovery of the tumour requiring the surgery which almost ended his career before he retrained as baritone. Secondly, we hear the refined yet virile baritone of the great Swiss, French-trained baritone Charles Panzéra and thirdly on the first disc the warmer, more relaxed sound of the German lyric baritone Gerhard Hüsch. Obviously the baritones sing the downward transposed arrangement, a tone beneath the tenor version, giving a darker feeling.
On the distaff side, we hear an attractive spread of three different voice types singing in keys spanning two tones, from Lotte Lehmann when her voice, of indefinable category owing to the breadth of her roles over her career, had settled in her late maturity into a rich, yet still very flexible dramatic soprano. Then we hear the deep contralto of Marian Anderson followed by a live Edinburgh Festival recording of Kathleen Ferrier, singing in a tessitura a semitone up from Anderson to suit her ideally.Read more ›
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