Some might say that the great discovery of this volume of Graham Johnson's Schubert edition is the stunning voice of baritone Matthias Goerne. And while Goerne's voice is one of the marvels of the age, the greater discovery is Schubert's Abendröte cycle, his 11 settings of Abendröte poems by Friedrich von Schlegel. Although not truly a cycle in the sense that the Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise are settings of narrative poems in a unified dramatic cycle, the Abendröte cycle is as coherent as Schubert's Heine Schwanengesang songs or his Schulz Auf den wildes Wegen songs. And in these powerful, sensitive, and visionary performances by Goerne and Johnson, joined by soprano Christine Schafer for two of them, the Schlegel songs sound as lovely as the Schulz songs. If even Goerne, Schafer, and Johnson's performances do not raise the Schlegel songs to the level of the Heine songs, that is merely to compare merely great songs with some of the greatest songs ever written at any time by anyone. The inclusion of Schubert's settings of August Wilhelm Schlegel's translations of three of Petrarch's sonnets sung with ardent clarity by Goerne is a wonderful bonus. At 71 pages, Johnson's program notes are too short by half.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
Sprache der Liebe ("Lass dich mit gelinden Schlägen rühren"), song for voice & piano, D. 410 (Op. posth. 115/3)