This is Volume 7 of Harmonia mundi’s Goerne/ Haefliger/ Schubert edition, and it is becoming quite noteworthy. Goerne is rapidly becoming one of the most important lieder singers of this generation, and of Schubert in particular. His approach is always very individualistic; never cookie-cutter, as if there was some magical Schubertian approach that fits all songs, but a considered and strikingly personal pose in these miniature poetic dramas that makes him stand out in a very crowded field.
Just hearing the first song, Im Abendrot shows how appropriately Goerne chooses his moods and panders them according to the text. Die Forelle is at once playful and serious in its depiction of the almost tragic conclusion of the trout being caught—Goerne handles the major to minor transition beautifully. And the title track, Erlkönig, the piece that essentially “made” the teenaged composer, is given as fine a reading as I have heard, the four parts being discernible vocally and emotionally with lots of heightened drama and pathos.
Haefliger is a real partner in every sense of the word, anticipating and supporting the singer in ways that allow the voice to glide with an effortless lyricism, and bringing Schubert’s all-important accompaniments to the fore when needed, and quietly listing in the background according to need. Good stuff here!
These are 19 tracks of some of Schubert’s most popular songs, and a great place to start if you are new to the series. But start you must, if you care about Schubert at all.