Andrew Palmer, Group Editor

Classical Music Album: Franz Schubert 21 Songs Coote/Drake

Franz Schubert 21 Songs
An den Mond D259; Wandrers Nachtlied I ‘Der du von dem Himmel bist D224; Im Frühling D882; Der Zwerg D771; Ständchen; Seligkeit; Abendstern; Der Tod und das Mädchen
Alice Coote mezzo-soprano and Julius Drake Piano
Hyperion CDA68169
www.hyperion-records.co.uk/
Available as an MP3, iTunes, CD or FLAC and ALAC formats

There are so many delights radiating from this disc. First, the fabulous Coote and Drake combo, second, the deliciously appetising repertoire flawlessly performed, and third, excellent programme notes from the pen of Richard Wigmore.

This recital perfectly demonstrates the powerful partnership between a composer and a writer. It is the poetry of Goethe that had a big influence on the young Schubert. Wigmore states: the teenage Schubert’s relationship with the poet flared up in October 1814 with Gretchen am Spinnrade, and he was excited about this poetry for its immediacy and spontaneity of feeling, its eagerness to seize and glorify the moment. Schubert had produced nearly fifty Goethe settings, many among the world's best songs by the summer of 1817.

Other writers include: Schulze, Matthäus von Collin, Uhland, Lappe, Claudius, and for each Schubert takes their poetry and crafts his magic. The Shakespeare / Von Bauernfeld ever popular An Silvia is performed so the verve and grace are captured.

Coote opens her recital with a favourite Goethean image of the moon as a source of peace and healing: An den Mond. It is delectably performed and over all too soon; the beautiful accompaniment leading to Coote'slovely entry sets up a disc that delights from beginning to end.

The Coote and Drake musicianship adds that special gravitas to an album where vocal colour and nuance shine through with variety of expression eloquently captured with skilfully crafted phrasing to createintimacy.

Schubert devotees will not be disappointed with this appealing 71 minutes of utter bliss.