RECORDINGs Of THE YEaR
his upper lip as he speaks of the broken ring entwined around the lovers’ names.
The incisive edge on Rose’s ample tone is splendidly heard in the desperate, fist-shaking bravado of ‘Mut’ and ‘Der stürmische Morgen’. Elsewhere, too, Rose’s wanderer seems to mock the absurdity of his own predicament, as at the final ‘Wein’ (‘weep’) of ‘Letzte Hoffnung’, where other singers, including Fischer-Dieskau, in his various recordings, and Matthias Goerne, with Graham Johnson (Hyperion, 1/98) and Alfred Brendel (Decca, 9/04), find a lamenting quality of tone. At the close of ‘Das Wirtshaus’, where the exhausted wanderer fails to find the consolation of death, he strikes a note of almost heroic defiance. Even the final ‘Der Leiermann’ is forthright rather than haunted, ending with a vehement challenge to himself and the hurdy-gurdy man. Like Hans Hotter, Rose leaves one with a sense of a vast burden of suffering determinedly endured against appalling odds, of Lear’s ‘Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all.’
If both singer and pianist tend to underplay Schubert’s frequent accents (say, in the frantic, stumbling ‘Rückblick’), Gary Matthewman counters the dangers of downward transposition by ensuring that Schubert’s transparent, precisely imagined textures remain clear. Bass-lines are always firmly, eloquently etched, crucial when Schubert often thinks in terms of a dialogue between voice and keyboard bass, as in ‘Erstarrung’ and the contrapuntally conceived ‘Der Wegweiser’. While there are more moving Winterreise recordings, not least from Goerne and Fischer-Dieskau, Rose’s deeply felt, impressively sung performance seems to catch, more than most, something of the poet Müller’s mordant, mocking irony which Schubert chose to soften and deflect when he set the verses.
april Gramophone Choices
Brahms� c schumann Violin Works lisa Batiashvili vn alice sara ott pf staatskapelle dresden / christian thielemann DG 479 0086Gh ‘Even before Batiashvili makes her entrance, we can sense this will be an outstanding performance.’
‘EnGLiSh VioLin DUoS’ Violin Works retorica nMC Artists Series nMCD182 ‘Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo project the music’s often intricate contrapuntal interweaving with faultless technique and unfailing insight.’
pÄrt te Deum gordan nikolitch vn netherlands chamber choir and orchestra / risto Joost Globe GLo5252 ‘One of Pärt’s most remarkable achievements and the Dutch performers have risen to the occasion.’
ViValdi Bassoon Concertos, Vol 3 sergio azzolini bn l’aura soave cremona naïve oP30539 ‘There is the usual crop of achingly beautiful slow movements, some conjuring a summer night on the Grand Canal, others earlymorning mist creeping across the lagoon.’
delius ‘American Masterworks’ soloists; aarhus cathedral choir; aarhus symphony choir and orchestra / Bo holten Danacord DACoCD732 ‘Johan Reuter is the excellent soloist in Sea Drift, sustaining the narration well, telling of the solitary sea bird that has lost its mate.’
‘in this moonlit night’ Lieder by tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, taneyev dmitri hvorostovsky bar ivari ilja pf ondine oDE1216-2 ‘He brings to his interpretations a new richness and darkness of timbre, beautifully polished as it always was.’
Pre-session preparation: ‘heroic’ bass Matthew Rose
14 GRAMOPHONE RECoRDinGS of thE YEAR 2013
mendelssohn String Quartets ebène quartet Virgin Classics 464546-2 ‘This disc abounds in the kind of lively engagement with the music that we’ve come to expect from Quatuor Ebène, caught up-close and personal by the microphone.’
parrY ‘from a City Window’ ailish tynan sop susan Bickley mez William dazeley bar iain Burnside pf Delphian DCD34117 ‘Full of subtle vocal nuance, excellent diction and discerning accompaniment, the performances are exquisite.’
Britten the Rape of Lucretia soloists; aldeburgh Festival ensemble / oliver Knussen Virgin Classics 602672-2 ‘Ian Bostridge is on top form, engagingly conversational and managing to invest Ronald Duncan’s contorted libretto with poetic feeling.’