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Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, November 2011

…some of Schumann’s finest gems are hidden here: Widmung (tr. 1), Der Nussbaum (tr. 3), Die Lotusblume (tr. 7) and Du bist wie eine Blume (tr. 24) are all desert-island stuff and there is a lot more to enjoy. Schumann 1840 is in itself grade labelling and when sung by Thomas E Bauer one can just open one’s arms and savour the songs one by one or in groups if one prefers.

Bauer is one of today’s most accomplished Lieder singers with wide vocal as well as expressive range. One can choose any track with him and be sure that he will never go astray. Rätsel (tr. 16) is deeply satisfying, even more so the beautiful Venezianisches Lied No. 1 (tr. 17). Niemand (tr. 22), vital and rhythmically incisive, places him on a level with the foremost of the great baritones of the previous generation. This is confirmed by his caressing Du bist wie eine Blume (tr. 24) where he challenges even Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Any Schumann lover who wants a recording of Myrthen and the Op. 90 in the bargain can confidently invest in this super-budget issue. Read complete review

Robert A Moore
American Record Guide, November 2011

Bauer sings…with sensitivity and authority. Heilscher maintains the high standard she has set in this Naxos series. Excellent notes by Keith Anderson…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2011

Designated as Schumann’s ‘Year of Song’, 1840 contained the series of songs gathered together under the generic title Myrtles. He had come from a literary background and was far more fastidious in his choice of texts than Schubert had been. Originally very taken by Heine, the collection also contains settings of Ruckert and Goethe, and a sizeable contribution from Burns and Thomas Moore in German translation. In mood they cover much ground from the love of the newly married bride, the pleasure of having the newborn child, while on the way through her life Schumann spends much time on the beauty of nature with occasionally rustic good humour. Linking this with Sechs Gedichte und Requiem makes very good sense, for the story of happiness begun in Myrthen is here completed by the sadness that often invades old age. The poems come from Nikolaus Lenau, a man often overcome by depression and thus living in parallel with Schumann. The much experienced baritone, Thomas Bauer, sings this work in its entirety, the naturally dark texture of the voice well suited to the work’s intentions. He shares Myrthen with the American-born soprano, Andrea Lauren Brown, a young singer who studied in Austria and has enjoyed subsequent competition successes. She adopts a very young quality with a lightweight approach to many of the songs, sketching in some of the awkward upward leaps, but colouring the words with understanding. Both have the ready support of the Japanese pianist, Uta Hielscher, who underpins rather than making the empathetic contribution heard in other recordings. The sound engineering is the work of Bavarian Radio who produce the intrinsic beauty of vocal tone we now expect from them.

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