Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart: An die ferne Geliebte CD review – clarity and brio from Padmore and Bezuidenhout

Mark Padmore (tenor), Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)
(Harmonia Mundi)

This rewarding disc – two top performers who have already demonstrated their musical affinity in a highly praised Schumann recording – has as its centrepiece Beethoven’s only song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), six songs in which feelings are evoked through nature: cloud, rock, forest and wind mirror the hopes and fears of an anguished lover. From urgent declamation to whispered despair, Padmore expresses all with directness, clarity and tonal variety. Bezuidenhout is an equal partner: engaged, lively, with a wonderful brio which never overwhelms the singer. Of three Haydn songs, two are in English (the almost archly inflected She never told her love from Twelfth Night and Hark! What I tell to thee). Mozart’s Masonic Cantata (“A Little German Cantata”), together with Beethoven’s Adelaide and other songs, familiar and less so, make for an engaging recital.

Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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