( Liederkreis Op. 24, Kerner – Lieder Op.35 )
Jochen Kupfer, baritone
Reinild Mees, piano
Channel Classics CCS 13698

   "I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of the most satisfying, finely executed discs of Schumann interpretation ever to come my way. After the overbearing performances of the same composer's Lieder by Terfel last month, these reticent, sensitively shaped, immaculately sung and understood readings come like balm to the ear. Kupfer is, on this evidence, destined for greater recognition in this field. His voice, a light, vibrant baritone, uncannily recalls that of the younger Holzmair. Its owner uses it unerringly to enter the particular world predicated by Schumann's imaginative, usually inspired settings of Heine and Kerner. However many times you may have encountered these songs, you will, I hope, feel that here they are given a fresh impetus, with a welcome attention to the basic verities of line and phrasing. Comparison for once seems out of order.
Above all, Kupfer and his equally admirable partner (playing a piano of Schumann's era) enter into the two facets of Schumann's psyche - his Florestan and Eusebius creations - heard here in immediate proximity, for instance, in Wanderung and Stille Liebe of Op. 35, the first all brisk extroversion, the second all inward sorrow, moods perfectly caught in voice and piano. Even better, if that's possible, is Stirb, Lieb' und Freud, a difficult song to encompass, with its contrasts between scene-painting and the impersonation of the woebegone maid. Again, the balance of reticence and boldness is adjusted just right. So is the measured, almost hypnotic treatment of the set's last two, deeply eloquent songs.
The treatment of the Heine Liederkreis is hardly less remarkable, with the secrets below the surface of the poet's words and Schumann's settings keenly probed, and some really beautiful singing qua singing from the highly gifted and intelligent Kupfer..."
Alan Blyth in Gramophone, June 2000

"(...)Kupfer responds to both creators’ evocations of moods and places, singing with a beautiful line and in plaintive tones. He is subtly partnered by Mees, playing a piano of Schumann’s time. They are just as winning in the Kerner settings, balancing ideal retinence and boldness in their readings."
  Daily Telegraph, 29 April 2000

"The German baritone Juchen Kupfer is certainly one of the most gifted talents of the younger generation.(...) He is supported by the very sensitive accompaniment of pianist Reinild Mees: the two of them make an extraordinary strong duo in performing the “Songs of Schumann”. One can only be very enthousiastic at hearing this CD, after which the expectation of a big international career is definitely raised."
Performance : excellent
Recording : very good
LUISTER, May 2000

"Reinild Mees leads the baritone gently through different moods and emotions of the songs (...)"
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