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Schubert late lieder

Der Winterabend
Die Sterne
Schwanengesang (Rellstab & Heine)

Ian Bostridge tenor Antonio Pappano piano

Wigmore Hall 29 May 2010

A heavy, brief hour at Wigmore Hall of Schubert lieder given without interval; "a gathering of Schubert's tragically final thoughts", their solemnity emphasised beforehand by exhortations from the platform to total silence and to buy CDs afterwards.

Bostridge's voice was less than alluring in many of these demanding songs (only the first two were relatively unknown) and his stage manner is sometimes disconcerting - moving around the platform and then back to clutch on the lid of the piano (Pappano had it on short stick, which I always deplore*). Hear them however discussing and recording them on YouTube - link above.

Pappano is a sensitive accompanist and accomplished pianist but this sold-out event (to be repeated tomorrow 31 May) was not to be compared with Bostridge's mixed programme shared with Sophie Daneman in March at Middle Temple Hall; we have a decided preference for mixed repertoires...

Peter Grahame Woolf

See The Times review of the recording: Schubert's diverse Swansong cycle probably wouldn't exist without the canny post-mortem splicing of his publisher. Ian Bostridge is not an expansive tenor - his intonation is occasionally off and strained. But his somewhat detached, hard vocal quality suits the introspective longing of many of these settings.

* q.v. - - the sound of his piano, on the short stick - - I have always remembered Szymon Goldberg, at a violin master-class I attended in 1957, memorably insisting that pianos should never be put on short stick.[Editor]