Padmore captivates with Schumann love songs

Mark Padmore excels even himself with his masterly rendition of Schumann's Dichterliebe (‘A Poet’s Love’) and Liederkreis (‘Song Cycle’)

Composer: Schumann
Repertoire: Dichterliebe, Liederkreis
Artists: Mark Padmore (ten), Kristian Bezuidenhout (pf)
Rating: 5/5 
Genre: Vocal
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMU 907521

The Music Dichterliebe (‘A Poet’s Love’) and Liederkreis (‘Song Cycle’) focus on the ambiguous pleasures and pains of love. Schumann’s setting of Heinrich Heine’s poetry masterfully reflects that: often he presents a straightforward melody at the beginning of a song, and then alters its mood with subtle harmonic twists underneath. 

The Performance Mark Padmore, a singer celebrated for his intelligent performances, superb diction, and ethereally pure voice, here surpasses even himself. In Liederkreis, he responds to the cycle’s world of dreams and anguish with a delicate objectivity which is captivating. Nothing is over-stated and nothing forced, which means that when he lets rip in Dichterliebe - especially in Ich grolle nicht (‘I bear no grudge’) - the effect is all the more powerful for the previous restraint. Bezuidenhout’s accompanying is wonderfully responsive and atmospheric too. 

The Verdict Some might find Padmore too restrained in his approach, but anyone who appreciates subtlety, detail, and the virtues of objectivity will be unable to resist. 

Want More? Gerald Finley’s equally captivating Dichterliebe (Hyperion CDA 67676) is earthier, and more emotionally raw.