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Schubert, Franz: Favorite Lieder CD EMI 1994 (re-released 2003)

Schubert: Favorite Lieder


Composer Franz Schubert
Simon Keenlyside
Malcolm Martineau
Label Classics for Pleasure
Code (originally EMI CD-EMX2224, EMI 5652342) 5856182
Released (Originally August 1994) September 1, 2003
Number of discs 1

Track Listing

1. (Der) Einsame
2. Ständchen, ‘Horch! Horch! die Lerch’
3. An Silvia
4. (Der) Jüngling an der Quelle
5. Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren
6. Gruppe aus dem Tartarus
7. (Die) Götter Griechenlands
8. Im Walde, ‘Waldesnacht’
9. (Der) Wanderer an den Mond
10. Freiwilliges Versinken
11. Himmelsfunken
12. Prometheus
13. Gondelfahrer
14. (Die) Sterne
15. Auf der Bruck
16. Heidenröslein
17. Im Haine
18. Nachtviolen
19. Bei dir allein
20. Du bist die Ruh Label (EMI Eminence)

Re-release of Schubert Recital, 1994


What the critics say

Alan Blyth for Gramophone, August 1994

Simon Keenlyside is the best baritone singer and interpreter of Schubert this country has ever had and is fully the equal of such Austro-German coevals as Holzmair and Schmidt. Hyperbole? I don’t believe anyone who hears this enriching recital could think so. Keenlyside has just about all the attributes needed by a Schubert interpreter: a magnificent tone, firm and natural, rounded throughout an extensive register, an inborn sense of line, perfect German, and in addition to all that an instinctive intelligence that carries him confidently through his long and taxing programme with hardly a phrase that could be bettered in terms of colour or word-painting.

It is so gratifying to hear a singer who is as much at home in the big, dramatic Lieder as in the quiet and reflective ones. You can sit back without a qualm knowing that he will have the reserves and the trenchancy of purpose to conquer such Everests of the Schubert repertory as Prometheus and Gruppe aus dem Tartarus where his vocal means are fully equal to the defiance the songs proclaim. Auf der Bruck is filled with the ongoing energy Schubert calls for. Then there’s the thoughtfulness to fulfil the demands of such a philosophical and forward-looking song as Freiwilliges Versinken, the sense of questing romanticism for Im Walde.

Among the reflective pieces, Die Gotter Griechenlands is notable for plangent feeling and tone—just right. Gondelfahrer, that marvellous evocation of bells heard at night, is full of nocturnal mystery. Heidenroslein is delicate in its subtle timbres and smiling tone; so is Die Sterne while Bei dir allein has a Fischer-Dieskau enthusiasm. And the recital is crowned by the final offering, Du bist die Ruh, where the voice opens out in its full beauty. These successes make the one or two failures mystifying. They come at the start of the disc so perhaps the performers weren’t yet into their stride. Der Einsame plods at an unduly slow tempo. Standchen lacks airiness, Martineau’s foursquare accompanying thereabouts doesn’t help. Later he provides many inspired moments (try Im Haine, where he so charmingly supports the baritone’s mezzo voce), and he never overeggs the pudding in the heavier songs.

The recording, produced by Mark Brown, is ideally balanced and judged, the texts and translations (RW: admirable) have been carelessly read with all verses of a song printed when only some of them are sung, and the first or last couplets of certain songs have been put at the end or the beginning of the next song. However, these trifling drawbacks don’t prevent an outright recommendation for this well chosen and absorbing mid-price disc.’

John Steane in his “Quaterly retrospect”, Gramophone October 1994

“Range of both voice and expression, is an impressive feature of another Schubert recital this quarter (EMI CD-EMX2224, 8/94). Of Simon Keenlyside’s début on records (as this effectively is) AB has written so warmly that there is little to add, save perhaps to recommend the programme on its own account: some of hte greatest of the lesser-known songs are here. Malcolm Martineau accompanies sympathetically, but the rich and dramatic concentration of the voice is what makes the issue so exceptionally (and for myself, I have to admit, unexpectedly) exciting. Here is one that really does go “straight to the records-of-the-year pile.”

Gramophone December 1994

AB’s claim that Simon Keenlyside is “the best baritone singer and interpreter of Schubert Britain has ever produced” has inevitably caused mutterings. But on the evidence of his debut recital, an imaginative mixture of familiar and unfamiliar Schubert that includes a magnificently dramatic performance of Prometheus, Keenlyside has everything it takes to become one of today’s most compelling Lieder singers. An exciting future on disc surely beckons.

Hilary Finch, BBC Music magazine

…A similarly wide-ranging choice of Schubert is offered by the gentler, more finely cultivated baritone of Simon Keenlyside. There isn’t thefrisson of terror in his vision of Tartarus, yet he waits and listens a little longer before leaping in, and this pays dividends in the structuring of longer, more epic songs. Miniatures like ‘Heidenröslein’ and ‘Im Haine’ are sung with sleight of hand – and Richard Wigmore’s clean, clear translations and notes are a valuable bonus.

Gramophone, December 2003

The first of the discs is by Simon Keenlyside and Malcolm Martineau, a partnership which over the intervening years has proved as sure a guarantee of satisfaction as any in its field. Their programme includes five of the best-known songs and for the rest explores in an adventurous spirit and with profitable results. Among the treasures are Waldesnaeht, Bei dir allein and Himmselsfunken, while Freiwilliges Versinken establishes itself as one of the greatest of all. The recital also established Keenlyside as among the very best of Lieder singers, sensitive to text, exciting in the timbre and resourcefulness of his voice, so that he meets marvellously well the challenge of so formidable a song as Prometheus.

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