There are just too darned many tenors and baritones, too much blend, too much smoothness, too much polish, too much refinement, and too much elegance. Heck, the only thing there's not enough of is heart and soul. It's not as if Robert Shaw weren't demonstrably the best choral conductor America ever had. And it's not as if his Robert Shaw Chamber Singers were not demonstrably the finest chorus of its size in America. It's that together, they completely swamp Schubert's songs for male chorus with their lush sonorities, cultured interpretations, and so-beautiful-that-it-hurts tonal quality. It's that together, the charm, delight, depth, and height -- or, the ineffable beauty -- of Schubert's songs is lost in the gilt and gold of Shaw and his singers. Telarc's sound doesn't help matters: it's rich with reverb and so soft-focused that the chorus become one big blur. This is a lovely repertoire but unlovely performances and an unlovable recording.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
Widerspruch ("Wenn ich durch Busch und Zweig..."), quartet for male voices & piano, D. 865 (Op. 105/1)