’SONGS OF SCHUMANN’ ( Liederkreis Op. 24, Kerner
– Lieder Op.35 )
Jochen Kupfer, baritone
Reinild Mees, piano
|| "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,
|"(...)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."
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
"Reinild Mees leads the baritone
gently through different moods and emotions of the songs (...)"