It is an indication of Matthias Goerne's genius that he can shape performances with star pianists to his and audiences' liking. The all-star recital is often unsuccessful in the song genre, intimate like no other, and the great interpreters of the lied have often been lasting pairs rather than units in which both singer and pianist are marquee names. Yet Goerne, on top of all his other remarkably undiminished vocal gifts, is the exception. He has made wonderful recordings of, specifically, Schumann with the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy, and here he joins with Leif Ove Andsnes, one of the hottest pianists on the current scene, for gorgeous performances of Schumann's Liederkreis, Op. 24, and the so-called Kernerlieder, Op. 35 (Zwolf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner), a lesser-known song cycle that takes skill to bring off. Goerne differentiates the two song cycles: in the Liederkreis, he destabilizes any cute singsong quality and catches the restless rhythmic variety in Schumann's settings of Heinrich Heine's poetry, seemingly simple and yet with an unsettled quality. This gives Andsnes something to chew on, and the pair's interpretations are often extremely compelling. If you want to hear Goerne's honeyed gentleness on full display, sample Stirb, Lieb, und Freud from the Kernerlieder cycle, a remarkable song about a man in love with a girl who is becoming a nun. A classic Schumann album, with Harmonia Mundi providing Teldex studio sound that could hardly be improved.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Liederkreis, Op. 24|
|Zwölf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner, Op. 35|