'... his expressiveness is faultless.'
Schumann's Dichterliebe and other Heine settings -
with PETER DALE
With this volume, Maltman and Johnson scale one of the peaks of the art
of lieder: Dichterliebe. Previous mountaineers include some of the
greatest voices in recorded history, but the summit is not crowded yet.
Schumann's music is more than spacious enough to allow of newcomers,
as indeed of second thoughts (as in the case of Fischer-Dieskau's two
very different classic recordings). The relatively young Maltman's
voice already sounds absolutely idiomatic in this extraordinary music where
the lyrical, bitter-sweet texts of the young Heine meet with the astonishingly
expressive intelligence of the young Schumann, but both of them with a wisdom
that defies the essentially youthful and volatile in their emotions.
Maltman effortlessly masters the technical challenges. He uses his voice
entirely in the service of the music without any of the narcissisistic lingerings
upon its particular local colours which mar so many lieder recitals now.
In any case, Schumann doesn't require great extremes in variety of
moods -- that is both his strength and one of his weaknesses perhaps
-- but shades of nuance along the way make all the difference. Perhaps
Maltman has yet to perfect this in the longer, larger narrative songs [listen -- track 14, 2:34 -- 2:51], but generally speaking
his expressiveness is faultless. Listen here, for example in Am leuchtenden
Sommermorgen, to the way his tone reflects one of Heine's characteristically
poignant last lines [listen -- track 32, 0:48 -- 1:38],
and, indeed, to Graham Johnson's marvellous playing of the coda --
an index of the deepest understanding between composer, singer and accompanist,
and not the least of the intense satisfactions of this disc.
Copyright © 8 April 2001
Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - HYPERION CDJ33105
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