Zeger Vandersteene

Schumann: Dichterliebe; Liederkreis

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Warm but wan, light but not deep, sensitive but not strong, tenor Zeger Vandersteene is at his best in the most ethereal songs of Schumann's Liederkreis, Op. 39. In Mondnacht or Auf einer Burg, Vandersteene's voice is as one with the melody and the singer becomes the song. But when the songs demand more than the ability to float a tone and hold a long line in Schumann's Dichterliebe, Vandersteene is at sea. In Ich grolle nicht and especially Die alten, bösen Lieder, Vandersteene sounds out of his depth and over his head. With pianist Levnete Kende, Vandersteene's performances are ardent but not convincing, fervent but not compelling, and passionate but not persuasive. While his Liederkreis, with its plethora of fay songs, works better than his Dichterliebe, with its surfeit of love songs, Vandersteene's pale Schumann is no better than his pallid Schubert. Northern Flowers' recording is clear and vivid, but oddly distant.

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