Kayleen Sánchez / Johnandrew Slominski

Franz Peter Schubert: Schwanengesang

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Most recordings of Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang feature performances by baritones or the occasional tenor or bass, but women who interpret the song cycle -- Nathalie Stutzmann and Brigitte Fassbaender are the most famous -- are quite uncommon. This 2017 Soundset release by soprano Kayleen Sánchez and accompanist Johnandrew Slominski, who plays a modern copy of a period fortepiano, is one such rarity, and it demonstrates that Schwanengesang need not be restricted to the lower vocal ranges. Sánchez has a pure and lovely voice that is quite pleasant in such buoyant numbers as Liebesbotschaft, Frühlingssehnsucht, Der Fischermädchen, and Die Taubenpost, though her expression takes a darker turn in Schubert's grim Lieder, such as In der Ferne, Die Stadt, Der Doppelgänger, Ihr Bild, and Der Atlas, which usually benefit from the deeper timbres of the baritone range. Some may find Sánchez's voice to be too sweet and light for this collection, as opposed to a heftier operatic voice, but it's quite appropriate for the intimate and introspective moods of these late songs, and considering that this is a historically informed interpretation, one can easily imagine hearing a voice like hers in Schubert's circle. Sample the melancholy Ständchen, the best-known song in Schwanengesang, to appreciate Sánchez's poignant delivery and Slominski's supple accompaniment.

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