Most of the time, this is a stunning Schubert recital. Together, soprano Johannette Zomer and pianofortist Arthur Schoonderwoerd have put together a program that balances songs and solos. Between sets of the two Suleika settings, the three Ellens Gesang including the "Ave Maria," the single Gretchen am Spinnrade, and the final Mignon, they have placed the very early Fantasie in D minor, a pair of reflective minuets, and the introspective Adagio in C major. Together, Zomer and Schoonderwoerd perform marvelously. Zomer is a passionate but controlled singer with a warm lower register, a clarion upper register, and a very expressive way with a lyric. With Zomer, Schoonderwoerd is a wonderful pianofortist with an elegant technique, a flexible sense of rhythm, and a subtle way of supporting the singer. On his own, however, Schoonderwoerd is less persuasive, his technique less polished, his tempos more hesitant, and his ability to shape forms less convincing. While this disc is well worth hearing for the preponderance of superlative performances, the solo works might grow interminable after the third or fourth listening. Alpha's sound is exemplary: near but not close, immediate but not intimate, present but not sitting in your lap.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard