And as a young listener I was not a fan of either his voice or his artistry. I found the former on the "blustery" side (particularly in big operatic performances) and the latter on the "fussy" side. Because of that early prejudice, and despite a deep love of the great song literature, I never bothered to watch his videos. So my overwhelmingly positive response to this remarkable set came as a complete surprise... Watching these DVDs for the first time, the biggest revelation for me was the "spontaneity and youthful enthusiasm" of the performances. What comes across as fussy and calculated on recordings appears completely natural and instinctive on video. The sheer "artlessness" of the art is almost breathtaking. You may never see a more perfect blending of voice, technique, intellect, musicality, storytelling and repertoire.
In both of these performances the great baritone was working with equally great pianists. In "Die Winterreise," Alfred Brendel's dark, weighty tone was the perfect compliment for the baritone's voice, which at that time still retained much of its youthful color and strength. Working together they bring an almost "Beethoven-ian" seriousness to the tragic story, and it makes for a dramatic and compelling performance.
By the time "Die schÃ¶ne MÃ¼llerin" was recorded the voice had lost some of that color and strength, but still possessed to an amazing degree its beauty, spin and grace. AndrÃ¡s Schiff's light, transparent tone and loving attention to detail enabled the singer to create a remarkably youthful portrait of love found and then lost.
To sum it up, if you already own these remarkable documents you owe it to yourself to give them another viewing. If you have yet to purchase them, this boxed set is a must-have for any serious lover of great song literature. - Wendy Escambia -- Parterre.com - July 1, 2010