Bostridge at his best

Ian Bostridge's many fans will love this recording of Schubert's Schwanengesang, but his refined tenor is an acquired taste

Composer: Schubert
Repertoire: Schwanengesang; Lieder
Artists:  Ian Bostridge (tenor), Antonio Pappano (piano)
Rating:  3/5
Genre: Vocal/Instrumental
Label: EMI Classics 516 4432

This is Bostridge at his best: limpid legatos, fabulous enunciation of the words, and the disc is beautifully recorded. Nevertheless, the timbre of Bostridge’s high, refined tenor remains something of an acquired taste. However great the apparent range of his expression, this remains a bizarrely uninvolving Schwanengesang – the listener is left on the outside, admiring yet missing the deep inward shudder in the soul that an artist like Matthias Goerne or Thomas Quasthoff can bring to songs such as ‘Der Doppelgänger’ or ‘Atlas’. Pappano’s fabulous piano playing, though, lights up the music throughout.