Britten: Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente, Op 61; Folk Song Arrangements, Volume 4 (Moore's Irish Melodies); Schubert: 7 Lieder

Reviewed on Mon 12 Jan, 2015

After his deeply affecting survey with Malcolm Martineau of songs from the First World War ('No Exceptions No Exemptions') on Signum Classics, the young Irish tenor Robin Tritschler teams up with Iain Burnside for this no less accomplished contemplation of two vocal masters: Schubert and Britten. Recorded in January 2014, it captures a partnership of considerable technical resources, all deployed with revealing empathy, nuanced subtlety and admirable reciprocity. Together, they mine the contrasting emotions and dramas of Britten’s Hölderlin Fragments and settings of traditional Irish songs with nimbly characterised readings rich in atmospherics and full of telling feeling. The Hölderlin pieces – pithy miniatures with simmering surface emotions – are evocatively realised, the Irish songs fetchingly rendered. The seven Schubert songs draw some of the finest performances: Im Freien achingly yearning, Ständchen sublimely light, An Silvia engagingly buoyant. The recording perfectly frames both soloist and accompanist; excellent booklet notes by Tritschler and Gavin Plumley.
–Michael Quinn