Brightening up Brahms in style

Iris Vermillion, Juliane Banse and Andreas Schmidt with Helmut Deutsch record a spirited collection of Brahms’s late songs

Composer: Brahms
Repertoire: Complete Songs, Vol.9 
Artists: Iris Vermillion (mz), Juliane Banse (sop), Andreas Schmidt (bar), Helmut Deutsch (pf)
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Vocal/Instrumental
Label: CPO 999 8402

Brahms’s late songs contain some of his most accessible and varied miniatures – from the flashy, stylised Hungarian gypsy-art-songs of Zigeunerlieder, performed with swagger and panache by Iris Vermillion, to the humanity and profundity of the Op.121 songs. The Op.106 songs are Schubertian in their expression of restless wanderlust and the prominence given to the piano parts (subtly shaped by Helmut Deutsch). Both these and Op.121 are sung with intelligent gravity and superb diction by Andreas Schmidt. The fresh-voiced Juliane Banse brightens up Brahms’s treacle textures with a cameo appearance.