Dorothea Röschmann: Portraits – Lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss and Wolf

Reviewed on Thu 05 Feb, 2015

Much touted as Dorothea Röschmann’s solo debut on disc (overlooking her 2000 collection of Handel’s German arias with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin on Harmonia Mundi), this compendium of female portraits in songs by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf and Richard Strauss proves to be a rich and satisfying recital in which texts and music are deftly mined for telling insight and illumination. Intimately recorded, it provides atmospherics and emotion aplenty, with Röschmann’s long-time platform companion Malcolm Martineau a wholly sympathetic accompanist. Mignon, as imagined by Schubert and Wolf, dominates (the latter’s 'Kennst du das Land' seething with exiled angst) but Schumann’s late Mary Stuart songs also prompt performances of heartfelt commitment. The four Strauss songs – described by Röschmann as “miniature mood portrait[s]” and highlighted by a limpid, lachrymose Morgen and heart-rending Beifreit – are sublimely despatched. Throughout, Röschmann’s tonal command is never less than compelling, her occasionally overly emphatic diction largely exemplary.
–Michael Quinn