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Schubert: Der Wanderer / Florian Boesch


Release Date: 02/11/2014 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 68010   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian BoeschRoger Vignoles
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUBERT Der Wanderer, D 489. Der Wanderer, D 649. Der Wanderer an den Mond, D 870. Aus “Heliopolis” I, D 753. Aus “Heliopolis” II, D 754. Auf der Donau, D 553. Auf der Bruck, D 853. Der Schiffer, D 536. Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Das Heimweh, D 456. Der Kreuzzug, D 932. Abschied, D 475. Wandrers Nachtlied I, D 224. Wandrers Nachtlied II, D 768. Herbst, D 945. Meeres Stille, D 216. Der Pilgrim, D 794. Die Götter Griechenlands, D 677. Im Walde “Waldesnacht”, D 708. Lied “Die Mutter Erde”, D 788 Florian Boesch (bar); Roger Vignoles (pn) HYPERION 68010 (64:45)


This intelligently programmed recital of Schubert Lieder includes such cornerstones of the vocal repertoire as Der Wanderer alongside comparatively unfamiliar Lieder such as Lied “Die Mutter Erde.” All 19 pieces on the recording have texts dealing with travel or exile. This is the approach to programming I appreciate most: Much of the repertoire on this disc has been recorded dozens of times, often in historic performances, but to my knowledge, this is the only available recording foregrounding the thematic connections between the pieces. The result is that the listener is offered a rare opportunity to infer a coherent Schubertian perspective on a significant German literary trope.


Though one might anticipate a disc devoted to themes of uprootedness to be rather gloomy, Schubert’s choice of and treatment of “wandering” texts offers the full emotional range of any standard Lieder recital. Der Wanderer D 489 and Der Wanderer D 649, the first two pieces on the program, demonstrate an immediate contrast. Schmidt von Lübeck’s wanderer finds himself to be a stranger wherever he goes; Schlegel’s wanderer finds joy everywhere despite being alone. The music ranges from the serene benediction of Wandrers Nachtlied II to the icy desolation of Die Götter Griechenlands and the stormy outpourings of Aus “Heliopolis” II.


Florian Boesch’s voice is rich in timbre, somewhat darker than Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s. Though his tone quality is consistently that of a baritone rather than that of a bass-baritone or a true bass, his lowest notes are focused and resonant. His high notes are attractively heroic. Like many large-voiced baritones, though, he has a tendency to come off the voice when singing quieter high notes. Likewise, he occasionally approaches the upper note of melodic skips by rearticulating the lower note as a grace note—a mannerism that gives an almost casual cast to some of his singing. These criticisms aside, Boesch’s presentation is generally idiomatic and engaging.


Boesch is at his best when working with a narrative text. Der Kreuzzug is one of the highlights of the disc. Boesch alters his timbre to portray the mild simplicity of the monk and the martial strength of the knights. Moreover, he uses diction as an expressive tool, modulating the volume of his consonants to match the intensity of the text. Other noteworthy tracks include Der Schiffer and Der Pilgrim, both conducive to heroic singing. I find Boesch less compelling on some of the more introspective songs on the program. His performance of Der Wanderer D 489 is a full 40 seconds longer than Siegfried Lorenz’s, a result of what feels like an effort to imbue each syllable with equal portentousness. Likewise, as previously mentioned, the hushed passages in Das Heimweh and Abschied occasionally lose the core of Boesch’s voice. That said, Boesch effectively varies his expression in each verse of the strophic Das Heimweh, creating an ongoing progression of emotion rather than a simple repetition.


Veteran pianist Roger Vignoles provides expressive, assertive accompaniments. His introduction to Aus “Heliopolis” II is particularly evocative of the text’s forbidding coldness. He is equally effective at projecting a sense of intimate warmth, as in the yearning accompaniment to Auf der Donau, with its sighing two-note phrases. Ensemble between the two performers is accurate and mutually complementary throughout the recording. The disc is recorded with a clear, live concert hall sound. Both musically and musicologically, this recital is a rewarding listening experience overall.


FANFARE: Myron Silberstein

This is the fourth Schubert recital album by Florian Boesch that I have enjoyed. The others are his already celebrated accounts of “Winterreise” and “Die Schöne Müllerin” on Onyx. There’s also a collection for Naxos called “Romantic Poets, Vol. 4”. I have by now the same high expectation for any new recital from him as I do for Jonas Kaufmann’s work and this Hyperion anthology conforms to that prospect, being excellent in every way.

Using Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “The Wanderer Above the Sea of Mist” (1818) is now almost a cover cliché. It has graced so many recordings of Romantic music, so much so that Jonas Kaufmann is pictured in a costumed, Photoshopped pastiche of the same pose on one of his recital albums for Decca. It is entirely appropriate here, in this carefully assembled collection of Schubert’s Lieder on the theme of the loneliness, isolation and the wandering of the outsider.

This inevitably makes for a rather sombre, melancholy mood throughout this 65 minutes. Not many of these songs will necessarily be familiar to the casual lover of Schubert’s Lieder. Indeed I can imagine some will know only “Der Wanderer an den Mond” here taken at a very subtle and moderate pace rather than the game plod we too often hear, as if the protagonist were dancing through mud. I count myself a moderately enthusiastic student of Schubert’s vocal oeuvre but I have heard or own probably only half of his songs and this disc acquainted me with half a dozen I had not previously encountered. So, for all its beauties, this is no jolly “Best of” collection including “Die Forelle”. Rather it is a serious, scholarly assembly more often black-browed and thought-provoking than charming.

The solemn, even dour, ambience is established immediately with Roger Vignoles using the pedalling to open up the deepest resonances of the piano in “Der Wanderer” D489. We are often in the same territory as “Winterreise” without much light relief - although a yearningly lovely song like “Das Heimweh” does much to redress the balance, as do the two tender and reposeful “Wandrers Nachtlied” songs.

What a beautiful voice this is, entirely even throughout its wide tessitura from an echt bass low D on “Glück” at the end of the first song to the lightest touch at the top of its range. Boesch thus sounds first like a bass then a lyric baritone in the second verse without any sense of an incongruous grafting of one vocal mode onto another. He often sings pianissimo without crooning, such as at the conclusion of “Auf der Bruck”. His diction is invariably pellucid without mannerisms. Vignoles matches his singer with his elegant touch yet sometimes the contrasting moods between the ending of on song and the start of another can be almost shocking, as in the transition between “Aus ‘Heliopolis’ II” and “Auf der Donau”. Boesch has the ability to vary his tone and dynamics to a remarkably degree. In this and in the intense, personal nature of his communication of the burden of a song he reminds me of the young Bryn Terfel. There is a mesmeric concentration to his delivery of “Meeres Stille”, which ends on a suspended thread of sound, perfectly mirroring the utter stillness of the sea.

Nothing in this partnership is over-stated; pianist and singer move as one, from the haunting chill of “Herbst” - understandably a favourite of Brahms - to the resolute marching chorale of “Der Pilger” to the rising panic which pervades “Im Walde ‘Waldesnacht’”, so reminiscent of “Der Erlkönig”.

A German-English libretto and fine notes by Richard Wigmore are provided in the booklet.

All lovers of the Schubertian Lied will want to own this - yet another indispensable recital from a Lieder singer who is, in my estimation, alongside Kaufmann the finest before the public today.

-- Ralph Moore, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Der Wanderer, D 489 (493a)/Op. 4 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Wandrers Nachtlied, D 768/Op. 96 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Wandrers Nachtlied, D 224/Op. 4 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Meerestille, D 216/Op. 3 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Im Walde, D 708 "Waldesnacht" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Herbst, D 945 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Heliopolis no 2, D 754 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Heliopolis no 1, D 753/Op. 65 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Die Mutter Erde, D 788 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Die Götter Griechenlands, D 677 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Der Wanderer, D 649/Op. 65 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Der Wanderer an den Mond, D 870/Op. 80 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Der Schiffer, D 536 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Der Pilgrim, D 794/Op. 37 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Der Kreuzzug, D 932 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Das Heimweh, D 456 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Auf der Donau, D 553/Op. 21 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Auf der Bruck, D 853 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Abschied, D 475 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Florian Boesch (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 

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