Schubert's Winterreise offers what likely is the darkest, most tormented, aesthetically and emotionally compelling journey in the repertoire of Romantic song-cycles. Any singer who takes it on (most often baritones, but frequently tenors and occasionally a female voice) must make the effort to immerse himself in Wilhelm Müller's poetry and Schubert's magnificently moody, unreservedly honest representation of its darkly human sentiment.
Following their exceptional Winterreise and now this equally fine Die schone Mullerin, tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Paul Lewis may be on their way to cornering the Schubert Lieder franchise for the foreseeable future. Besides being the most lyrically beautiful modern rendition of this oft-recorded cycle, the recording is a model of clear, natural presentation of voice and piano in a very complementary acoustic.
The darkly lit cover photo may convey some of the desolation of Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang, but to appreciate the full range of emotions of this posthumous song cycle – which shift from the hopeful passion of Liebesbotschaft and the giddiness of Frühlingssehnsucht to the heartbreak of Ihr Bild and the horror of Der Doppelgänger – listen to this exceptional Harmonia Mundi release by tenor Mark Padmore and his accompanist, pianist Paul Lewis.
Mark Padmore and fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout combine here to perform two of Schumann’s major cycles to words by Heine. They also throw in a selection of five Heine settings by the largely forgotten Franz Lachner (1803-90) from his Sängerfahrt (Singer’s Journey), which include the same text – ‘Im wunderschönen Monat Mai’ – with which Schumann’s Dichterliebe begins.
Thomas Larcher s sound world is both original and captivating in its fusion of contemplative harmonies with innovative performance techniques. Written for and performed by tenor Mark Padmore, 'A Padmore Cycle' features the composer at the keyboard. Works for solo piano performed by Tamara Stefanovich round out this programme of first recordings. Born 1963 in Innsbruck, composer Thomas Larcher studied piano and composition in Vienna. He first gained renown primarily as a pianist, performing with major orchestras and prominent conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez and Franz Welser Möst. In 1998, he began to define himself more clearly as a composer. Since then he has composed works for the San Francisco Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the Belcea Quartet, and for Leif Ove Andsnes, Matthias Goerne, Mark Padmore and Viktoria Mullova and Matthew Barley. He has recorded five CDs with ECM, most recently 'Madhares' with Kim Kashkashian, Till Fellner and Dennis Russell Davies.