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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, January 2009

…these songs and their performance of them on this disc can be thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.

R Moore
American Record Guide, September 2008

The Naxos Schumann lieder series continues with this release of Volume 4, giving us his settings of texts by Justinus Kerner, particularly his 12 Songs, Opus 35 from that magically productive 1839–40 period plus a few miscellaneous texts including his one and only setting of a Shakespeare text (‘Schussleid des Narren’).

Mammel has a fresh, young-sounding voice and exemplary pitch control, hitting notes spot-on at wide interval leaps; but there is a tendency for his voice to sound a bit shrill and too thin much of the time. He has a fluid, unforced sound above the staff rising to a ringing B-flat in ‘Still Tranen’, but he begins that song too loud so that he is not able to deliver a contrasting stronger final verse. His voice seems well-suited to Bach and early music, but less suited to 19th Century song. Mammel projects youthful enthusiasm more than probing depth. In ‘Alte Laute’ he sings at an appropriate mp level but does not convey the inherent anguish of the text…Hielscher, the accompanist in this series, offers solid but somewhat tepid piano collaboration. There’s just not enough magic here to make this recording competitive. Notes are here, texts on the Naxos website.

Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, June 2008

The Kerner Lieder—songs Robert Schumann set to poetry by Justinus Kerner—are, as a group, under performed. They are so beautiful and varied—languorous one moment, invigorating the next. Mammel, a hearty-voiced tenor, doesn’t always stop to luxuriate in the songs’ sensuality as he should…It’s great to have these songs released in this affordable collection.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2008

Though Schumann’s major song cycles play an important part of the recital repertoire, there is a large part of his output that is seldom programmed.

Now that this Naxos series has reached its fourth volume we are entering his lesser known world, the present disc covering the early Jugend-Lieder—unpublished in his lifetime—together with the Zwolf Lieder from his maturity and the much later Funf Lieder und Gesange and Vier Gesang. That they have been in the shadow of Schumann’s great cycles is to a large extent justified, for while they are all musically attractive, they neither have the gravity of Dichterlieber, nor the lyrical beauty of Frauenliebe und Leben. Yet if we had known neither, Schumann as a song writer would have been well remembered for the many emotions expressed in the Zwolf Lieder to poems by Kerner. Jugend-Lieder comes from his apprenticeship years and abound with charm, while the remaining parts of the disc emanate from his ‘Year of Song’ that began in 1839. They are here performed by the tenor, Hans Jorg Mammel, who essentially uses a head tone throughout. The Zwolf Lieder are often taken by a baritone, and when sung by a tenor there are passages that go too low in Mammel’s voice for comfort. His partner is the Japanese-born Uta Hielscher. I say ‘partner’ as she contributes much is supplying those tonal shades I miss in Mammel’s performances. The sound quality is satisfying.

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