Schubert: Arias and Overtures

Reviewed on Thu 13 Jul, 2017

In the aria 'Schon, wenn es beginnt zu tagen' the singer’s emotions are described moving from dawn through noon and evening to night. With this and the ensuing love song ('Wenn ich dich Holde sehen') Schubert and Behle fulfil that expectation.

For Schubert and the German music theatre of his time, words were of utmost importance which precluded florid singing. Unfortunately for the composer, Italian opera was in vogue, throwing him into a losing competition with Rossini. There is much beautiful orchestral music on this CD, admirably played by L’Orfeo Barockorchester under Michi Gaigg. From a beautiful, legato song of love ('Was belebt die schöne Welt' from Die Zauberharfe) tenor Daniel Behle moves to a forceful aria from the 1815 Singspiel, Claudine von Villa Bella, where a youth is torn between love and honour. Behle is also just as effective in lighter songs, but for me things really begin to move when we reach the items from the 1821-22 opera Alfonso und Estrella. First we get a dramatic overture with some intriguing themes giving the expectation of something wonderful to follow. In the aria 'Schon, wenn es beginnt zu tagen' the singer’s emotions are described moving from dawn through noon and evening to night. With this and the ensuing love song ('Wenn ich dich Holde sehen') Schubert and Behle fulfil that expectation. Sadly, this opera was not performed until 26 years after Schubert’s death. Tracks 13 and 14 are of wonderful music from Fierrabras (1823), beautifully expressed with the skill Behle shows throughout, and come from an opera whose first performance was even later. The CD ends with an aria from 1821, 'Der Tag entflieht, der Abend glüht', inserted into an opera by Hérold, where the ‘hero’ has apparently sold his mother to the devil in order to win his love. Here Behle gives a wonderful portrayal of despair yet contrasts it with the joy of love. Overall he has excellent diction and great vocal subtlety.
–Ruth Piatkus