Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Solo Vocal

Mahler: Lieder
Christian Gerhaher; Gerold Huber

In Mahler year, a second win for a Mahler album. "Mahler song recitals with piano, especially those featuring two of the sets better known in their orchestral clothing, are rare enough", says Hugh Canning in International Record Review, "but Christian Gerhaher's new recording strikes me as one of the finest ever committed to disc... I have to say that I - an almost unqualified admirer of F-D in Lieder - prefer Gerhaher... What really sets this collection apart from most Lieder recordings today is the empathetic partnership between Gerhaher and his regular Liederabend partner Gerold Huber, a pianist of the first order, who almost makes one forget Mahler's rich orchestrations". (F-D, for those of you not familiar with famous-baritone shorthand, is Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau). Robert A Moore in American Record Guide warns "Don't be put off by the unkempt, snarling, scruffy physiognomy you see as Gerhaher's visual persona". OK... "The sheer sound of his voice alone is intoxicating; it is round, warm, and limpd. His pitch control is spot-on, and his elegant legato phrasing is supported by astonishing breath control. There is nothing not to like about his voice".
Two more baritones appear among the runners-up - Gerald Finley and Matthias Goerne - along with tenor Yann Beuron; female voices get a look-in in the form of 2 of the 4 vocal contributors to Harmonia Mundi's Schumann album.

Schubert: "Heliopolis". Matthias Goerne; Ingo Metzmacher [Harmonia Mundi]
Fauré: Mélodies. Yann Beuron; Billy Eidi [Timpani]
Schumann: Spanische Liebeslieder, etc. Marlis Petersen; Anke Vondung; Werner Güra; Konrad Jarnot; Christoph Berner & Camillo Radicke [Harmonia Mundi]
Britten: Songs & Proverbs of William Blake, etc. Gerald Finley; Julius Drake [Hyperion]

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