Notes and Editorial Reviews
This recital offers comparatively offbeat repertoire. Beethoven's pioneering song cycle is joined by songs of Liszt, Schumann, and Strauss rarely encountered in recitals by this voice type. Ben Heppner is possessed of the most magnificent voice to hit the dramatic German repertory in many, many years. Enormous reserves of power are contained within a voice almost lyric in its fluidity. Heppner is particularly suited to both Beethoven and Strauss, whose approach to the tenor voice is often described as "optimistic." He brings a combination of power and tonal beauty rarely heard in Beethoven's 'Adelaide' and 'An die ferne Geliebte' as well as Strauss' magnificent wedding present to his wife, the four Op. 27 songs more usually heard sung by sopranos. He sails through the difficult 'Cäcilie' and manages most of the necessary delicacy of 'Morgen.'
Heppner is not perfect. Although he sings the Liszt songs well he does not really possess the sort of Italianate quality this most cosmopolitan of composers wrote into his settings of Petrarch. Still, this is a uniquely rewarding song recital by the leading heldentenor of the end of the 20th century.