F.Schubert, An den Mond,
D.Henschel / H.Deutsch
H.Wolf, Mörike Lieder,
W.Güra / J.Schultsz
Werner Güra has received highest praise when he recorded the nearly perfect Lieder CD Schöne Wiege Meiner Leiden, a disc where the selection of the songs (Brahms and Mr. & Ms. Schumann), the presentation (including letters between the three composers), and the execution (with a perfect contribution by pianist Christoph Berner on a superbly balanced 1877 Friedrich Ehrbar piano) answered to about everything one could wish such a CD to bring with it. His latest release is dedicated to 23 of Wolf’s Mörike songs. Wolf’s songs demand that the listener be into the art of the Lied in the first place (at least more so than the “Schöne Wiege…” selection) to fully enjoy it, but those who are will find Güra at the top of his game, again. Never harsh, never shrill, and never strained he manages the (difficult enough) sine qua non of such a recital. But beyond the absence of the negative, he adds a bewildering array of positively positive elements into his traversal of beauties such as the touching heartache of Gebet, the surging, threatened and gloomy Denk’ es, o Seele, the wild and stormy Der Feuerreiter, and the humorous Storchenbotschaft (Stork-tidings: “I guess you’ve paid my girl a visit? […] / But wait! Why have two of you come? / It can’t, I hope, be a case of twins? / –At that the storks burst out chattering / They nod and curtsey and fly away”).
Jan Schultsz offers sensitive and musical accompaniment, always underscoring the lyricism of Wolf, never neglecting the bubbles and the nimble moments.
No harm in celebrating the 80th birthday of the greatest Lieder singer there ever was; Fischer-Dieskau, whether we consider his legacy impressive but controversial or simply unequalled. But better yet is it to know that between the singers mentioned above and the two singers on the marvelous discs discussed here, we are not bound to run out of future greatness in that field of classical music.