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  Deutsche Grammophon -
  477 083-2 (2 discs)
  Schubert: Lieder with Orchestra - Anne Sofie von Otter, Thomas Quasthoff
  Schubert: Songs orchestrated by Berlioz, Britten, Brahms, Liszt, Offenbach, Reger, Webern

Anne Sofie von Otter
Thomas Quasthoff
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Claudio Abbado (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 2

Review by Julien December 24, 2006 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
It's a strange feeling to be the first to write a review for a recording, I feel honoured and yet in this case I would hope more people knew about it.
This was one of my very first SACDs, and also one of the very few that really convinced me of the outstanding quality of SACD.

For the performance, more and more my opinion differs from my first listenings. I used to like Anne Sophie von Otter very much, but I don't listen to her SACD a lot now (this is a set of two SACDs and the second is, apart from one encore title, all Quasthoff). She is indeed a very sensible musician who sings with many subtleties in her voice and interpretation, but the more I listen to her recording, the more I feel she's singing more than speaking, her too ample vibrato disturbs me more, and her voice and singing don't fit very well with the orchestra.

On the other hand you have the marvellous Thomas Quasthoff, and this is another story. This 1.34 short man (he has phocomelia, which means that due to congenital disorder he has very short bones---by the way this is how he once introduced himself: "1.34 meter groß, kurze Arme, sieben Finger - vier rechts, drei links - großer, relativ wohl geformter Kopf, braune Augen, ausgeprägte Lippen; Beruf: Sänger." [1.34 meters tall, short arms, seven fingers - four right, three left - large, relatively well formed head, brown eyes, distinctive lips; profession: singer.]) has a absolutely impressive voice, rich and subtle like you will hardly hear in your life. And he is a singer who speaks. He is the music. He is more than doing justice to my very beloved Franz Schubert.

The sound is quite plain and detailed, but also more and more I found the overall sound on the Quasthoff SACD better. On the Otter SACD, the voice is not melted in the orchestra at all (I don't like when the orchestra sounds like a background, like in most old recordings), too much on the front, and the highs don't sound free enough all the time (more air please?).
On the Quasthoff SACD, the voice sounds better balanced with the orchestra, and we hear all the inflexions in his voice, especially listen to track 3, the angelic "Du Bist Die Ruh", the nuances are exceptionally rich in dynamics. What a voice!

Overall if you compare the recording to some of the best we have out there, inevitably you have to admit that it lacks the air and the natural flow we spoiled SACD lovers are used to now.

Anyway the recording is still very decent, and even if I prefer these pieces accompanied on the piano (Mr Abbado does a very good job by the way), what I want to say is buy this recording for the divine music that's on it.

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Review by gonzostick September 8, 2009 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
DO NOT MISS THIS DISC! Absolutely beautiful...

This is a recording in DSD of a live concert of Schubert Lieder with accompaniments orchestrated by the likes of Brahms, Berlioz, Reger, Webern, Liszt, and Offenbach. The concert was presented at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. This is a wonderful SACD of lovely, loving performances by Anne Sofie von Otter and Thomas Quasthoff, accompanied ably by Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.It even includes the soprano and bass-baritone encores at the end of the concert.

There are TWO versions of Schubert's ERLKÓNIG, one orchestrated by Berlioz, sung by the soprano; the other by Reger, sung by the baritone. Wonderful as the soprano is on this concert, the peach of the evening's music is the ineffably beautiful singing by Quasthoff. His delineation of the four characters in the Erlkonig performance is better than Fischer-Dieskau, and, unlike F-D, he never strains when he sings with power. That is saying quite a lot. Why? Quasthoff has the most beautiful bass-baritone voice now on stage, but his instrument has both beauty and power in equal measure. In Germanic repertoire he is nothing short of wonderful. I would recommend the SACD of Mahler orchestral lieder on Capriccio, conducted by Gary Bertini as a great example of his art. The sound on that disc is somewhat problematic, but the singing is wonderful. Better still is his performance of Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer on RBCD with Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic. THAT is THE performance that bests, by a country mile, the Fischer-Dieskau performance with Kubelik that was the standard for many years.

So, this concert ends with Offenbach's lovely orchestration of Schubert's SERENADE (Ständchen). In lesser hands, this work is hackneyed. Here, it is simply marvelous.

GET THIS! You will love these performances. Yes, Schubert Lieder with orchestrated accompaniments is an acquired taste, but one well worth acquiring... just like foie gras and martinis...

Both the surround and stereo mixes are very smooth with lovely detail and imaging. The best is that the disc catches the amazing power and nuance of Quasthoff's voice in all its glory. While I am at it, do not miss his SACD of Bach Cantatas on DG. You will never hear a better voice sing those works.

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Works: 18  

Franz Schubert - An die Musik, D. 547
Franz Schubert - An Schwager Kronos, D. 369
Franz Schubert - An Sylvia, D. 891
Franz Schubert - Die Forelle, D. 550
Franz Schubert - Die junge Nonne, D. 828
Franz Schubert - Die Schöne Müllerin, D. 795
Franz Schubert - Du bist die Ruh, D. 776
Franz Schubert - Ellens Gesang II, D. 838
Franz Schubert - Erlkönig, D. 328
Franz Schubert - Gretchen am Spinnrade, D. 118
Franz Schubert - Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, D. 583
Franz Schubert - Im Abendrot, D. 799
Franz Schubert - Memnon, D. 541
Franz Schubert - Nacht und Träume, D. 827
Franz Schubert - Prometheus, D. 674
Franz Schubert - Rosamunde - Incidental Music, D. 797
Franz Schubert - Schwanengesang, D. 957
Franz Schubert - Winterreise, D. 911