The sixth volume in Matthias Goerne's survey of Franz Schubert's lieder includes the posthumous collection Schwanengesang, which contains some of the loveliest and most disturbing songs Schubert ever composed. One problem in performing this ambiguous work of Schubert's last year lies in its alternation of sweet, lyrical songs with those of a much darker and even frightening character, and it's left to the singer and the pianist to balance the moods and to make the contrasts of expression as subtle as possible. Goerne and his accompanist Christoph Eschenbach meet the challenge by carefully shading the songs with a tempering of expressions that admits sorrow in the midst of joy and hope in the depths of despair.
Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as, ''The most intellectually and vocally gifted male art-song interpreter of his generation,'' baritone Matthias Goerne presents the eighth volume in his ongoing Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition for harmonia mundi. The featured work is Schubert's setting of Goethe's two-part poem Wanderers Nachtlied. A renowned Schubert interpreter, Goerne is renowned worldwide for his complete commitment to the composer and text. On this new 2-CD set he is joined by two exceptional collaborators, pianists Helmut Deutsch and Eric Schneider.
Like his previous Virgin Classics release (a program dedicated to Georges Bizet), Paavo Järvi devotes his new CD entirely to music by one French composer: Gabriel Fauré. Fauré’s serene and consoling Requiem is the centerpiece of the album, which also features three further classics, and the world-premiere recording of a neglected rarity, by the same composer.
The opening evening of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Das Rheingold is the prologue of the cycle, which is followed in turn by the music dramas Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. The first instalment in Jaap van Zweden's projected Ring with the Hong Kong Philharmonic – an undertaking he regards as central to his tenure with the orchestra – is a promising beginning that may surprise many experienced Wagnerians. Van Zweden is ambitious in presenting the Ring with this orchestra, which plays it for the first time, though in fairness to the musicians, they offer an intensity and vigor that more than makes up for any minor scrappiness.
The second Virgin Classics CD from the Orchestre de Paris under its new Music Director, Paavo Järvi, is entirely devoted to Fauré, with his Requiem as the centrepiece. The soloists are baritone Matthias Goerne and, singing the Pie Jesu usually assigned to a soprano, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.
If you have Bernstein/Ludwig/Berry performing this music and you buy this new version, you'll have all you need for Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Riccardo Chailly offers the most fabulous orchestral playing imaginable: those celebrated Concertgebouw winds have a field-day with Lob des hohen Verstands and St. Anthony of Padua's Fish Sermon. In Revelge the big martial buildup at the center of the song is positively terrifying in its violence. Equally terrifying in its quiet, oppressive dread is Der Tamboursg'sell. Enough of this: you won't hear these songs better played or conducted anywhere. David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com