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Franz Schubert The Wanderer: Lieder & Fragments Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

By golly is it an impressive compilation.

Charlotte Gardner 2008

The partnership of Bostridge and Andsnes must be one of the most musically satisfying of recent years. Their love and understanding of Schubert's music has produced a clutch of definitive performances both on stage and on disc, and so another CD is always to be welcomed. I say this whilst feeling obliged to sound the health warning that you won’t find much new here, as this is essentially a Greatest Hits of their previous recordings of lieder and piano fragments. However, there are five newly recorded lieder, and as for the rest, by golly is it an impressive compilation.

The disc opens with ''Viola'' D786, Schubert's beseeching of a snowdrop to bring comfort to a jilted bride. The mellow beauty of Andnes's piano, and then Bostridge's sonorous tenor, makes it one of those magical first tracks that catches you unawares and then throws you into the dilemma of whether to keep replaying it, not wanting to leave the world it's put you in, or whether to leave it behind and explore the rest of the programme. I often find that Bostridge is more convincing in the restrained emotions than the unbridled ones, but not here; this romantic hymn to the beauty and restorative powers of nature has everything – love, joyful expectation, pain and destroyed hope, pity – and Bostridge and Andsnes capture it all. The five new lieder are ''An die Musik'' D547, ''Ständchen'' (Horch, horch, die Lerch) D889, “Lachen und Weinen” D777, ''An die Laute'' D905 and ''Der Tod und das Mädchen'' D531, whose 'death' theme Schubert used in his D minor quartet.

All are delivered with everything you would expect from Bostridge and Andsnes in their Schubert performances; from Bostridge you have intelligent word painting, effortless sense of line, langorous phrasing, and a vocal quality that is as sonorous in the upper register as it is mellow in the lower. Andsnes more than accompanies, he pushes the beauty and depth of the piano writing to the fore, whilst never unbecomingly stealing the show.

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