Brahms; Franz; Schumann LIeder
As it progressed I enjoyed these performances more and more. Loges sings a Dichterliebe that need fear no comparison. His timbre recalls that of Gérard Souzay and Olaf Bär; and he sings with the poetic sensitivity of both his predecessors, his attractive, quickly vibrating tone an asset. He penetrates to the heart of the matter in his haunted, pained yearning, and he is finely supported by the equally sensitive, well realised playing of Schmalcz.
The pair follow the cycle with four songs originally intended to be included in it. Loges gives the breadth and ardour Dein Angesicht calls for and the dramatic energy required for the mini-ballad Es leuchtet meine Liebe. Then come six settings of Dichterliebe poems by Franz. These alternative versions have much to commend them even if Schumann’s genius is not unexpectedly absent: I particularly liked the romantic loveliness of Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen.
The Schumann theme extends to three settings by Brahms of poems by Felix Schumann, youngest child of Clara and Robert, and Brahms’s godson, who died aged 24. All three show Brahms deliberately paying homage to Schumann. Versunken is a particularly powerful song.
Finally, the choice falls on Brahms’s Op 49 Lieder. Apart from the ineffably beautiful and justly famous Wiegenlied, the group finds Brahms on auto-pilot as he often can be in his myriad contributions to the repertoire. These, like everything else, are sympathetically performed and faithfully recorded.