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The Hyperion Schubert Edition 1 / Dame Janet Baker, Graham Johnson Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 1, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This disc launches one of the great projects in the history of recording: the complete songs of Schubert, the world's greatest songwriter. Hyperion was lucky that they caught Janet Baker--a renowned Schubert singer--just at the end of her distinguished career, but still in fine voice. Graham Johnson, pianist and guiding spirit behind the whole project, has given her excellent material to work with: songs to texts by Schiller and Goethe. An auspicious beginning to a magnificent voyage of discovery. --David Hurwitz

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Youth By The Brook
  2. Thelka: A Phantom Voice
  3. Shepherd's Lament
  4. Nearness Of The Beloved
  5. Calm At Sea
  6. Amalia
  7. Anticipation
  8. Wayfarer's Night Song
  9. The Fisherman
  10. First Loss
  11. Delight In Melancholy
  12. To The Moon
  13. The Secret
  14. Song
  15. The Fugitive
  16. To Spring
  17. The Alpine Huntsman
  18. The Pilgrim
  19. Longing


Product Details

  • Performer: Janet Baker, Graham Johnson
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (September 1, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZEV
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By John Austin VINE VOICE on August 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The editorial comment reflects the strong recommendation given to this CD in the "Penguin Guide to Compact Discs". I add my own recommendation also, not only for this CD but for the whole project which it initiates, the plan to provide a truly complete survey of Schubert's song output.
The accompanist and moving spirit throughout is Graham Johnson. In his notes, he mentions inheriting a ten-volume Schubert edition, full of pencil markings, from legendary accompanist Gerald Moore. The older accompanist, collectors will remember, made a memorable series of Schubert lieder recordings with Dame Janet Baker. Well here is Dame Janet in her mid-fifties but still in vocal splendour, together with the younger accompanist, recorded in 1987.
One of the principles of this huge recording project is to match singers with songs. Anyone privileged to attend a recital by Dame Janet, a tall statuesque figure, will once again enjoy the experience of sharing music that seems to suit her perfectly. In "An den Mond", a song requiring a vocal range of almost two octaves, Dame Janet's lower register is used with remarkable dramatic power.
There is, moreover, the miracle of Schubert's genius, illuminating the texts of Goethe, Schiller and other of the German poets. A minor miracle is that such illumination was possible at such a young age. The 17-year-old Schubert begins, for example, the song "Nähe des Geliebten" with a swelling crescendo which accompanist and singer share, wonderfully well-contrived to suggest urgency. Other examples could be provided, but I hope this is enough to recommend this CD, if not the whole edition of 37 or more, to music lovers everywhere.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I got it on time, it plays well, it's cheap and it plays, I'm very happy with it! You can definitely get the best out of used things, like, today I went to the salvation army store near my house for the first time, and I bought a couple of sweaters (it's freezing in my office!), and they are beautiful and in an excellent shape! I guess people do tend to give out or give away stuff in a good condition.
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Format: Audio CD
Like a previous reviewer, I find myself needing a Schubert Lieder fix every two or three years when I glut myself on them only to move on until the urge next overcomes me.

I own no more than a third of the 700 songs Schubert wrote in his brief life, yet this prize-winning recital has claims to being one of the most indispensable. Under the misapprehension that Dame Janet's voice would be in decline at this stage of her career, after her retirement from the stage, I did not for a while acquire this disc, but my fears were foolish. I should have known that this recording, contemporaneous with her splendid Fauré recital also for Hyperion (see my review) would be just as good - in fact even better. Apart from slight wear in the middle of the voice it is as we have always known and loved it: rich, warm, flexible and expressive with an incisive top which still thrills and a trenchant lower register. Graham Johnson's notes accompaniment is marvellously alert and flexible and the rapport between singer and pianist is evident. Unlike a previous reviewer, I hear no "recognizably British accent in her German"; it sounds very idiomatic to me, nor have I ever heard such a complaint elsewhere.

This compilation has additional attractions in that it comprises more recherché songs composed to poems by Germany's two most celebrated proto-Romantic authors, Goethe and Schiller. The songs range in date of composition from perhaps Schubert's earliest in 1812 to a mature work of 1823, but most are from his intensive "Goethe period" of around 1815: fresh, melodic and full of the gentle, rippling sounds of nature - water, birdsong and the Spring - but often shot through with a bitter-sweet melancholy.
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Format: Audio CD
Schubert Lieder are analogous to lutefisk and roast turkey in my musical life; most of the time I prefer nouvelle cuisine, but once a year I crave them insatiably. That moment came upon me today. I flipped through my Schubert disk, past Auger, past Fischer-Dieskau, past the new Hampton, and snatched out Dame Janet, as usual.

Other people must respond to Baker's performances as enthusiastically, since it's her voice that was chosen for the first release of the huge Hyperion Schubert Edition. The Lieder on this disk are not as familiar as those of the Winter-Trip or the Pretty Miller Girl cycles. They don't "add up" programmatically as the cycles do, either. Instead, Baker sings each of them as a free-standing concert. I found myself clicking my player on and off, taking breaks, to allow the echoes of one song to fade before starting another.

Schubert's songs are poem settings above all. The strophic structure of the poem sets the structure of the song. The words of the poem are the musical moods of the song. Fortunately, Schubert chose many of the greatest lyric poems by Germany's greatest poets for his compositional inspiration. A Lieder singer has to deliver the words intelligibly, with agile tongue and lips. Despite a recognizably British accent in her German, Janet Baker sings words, not merely musical vowels.

Vibrato was taught as essential to a "good tone" thoughout Dame Janet's long career in opera, and her technique employs vibrato to a degree I find unpleasant from other singers. But Baker's vibrato is never wide, never conceals the pitch, truly does enhance her tone. Some of these songs span two octaves or more in range.
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