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Christopher Howell
MusicWeb International, July 2006

Detlef Roth has been working regularly in European opera houses over the last ten years but, while he has a voice rich enough for Wolfram he has also sung Papageno and is well-attuned to the nuances required of lieder singing. It is a splendidly rich voice, resonant in the lower range but free and untroubled in the higher notes. You can hear this immediately in "Der Unglückliche", a wide-ranging song which goes on from a deceptively tranquil opening to achieve high drama, while "Die Allmacht" is a tour de force of powerfully involved singing. The many gentler songs, on the other hand, are caressed with a real sense of line and without ever resorting to dubious tricks such as the head voice. Indeed, as I listened to this splendidly resonant voice with its innate musicality and sensitivity towards the words without undue fuss over them, a very famous name came to my mind – Hans Hotter. Since Ulrich Eisenlohr, the mastermind behind Naxos’s complete Schubert project, accompanies splendidly, this is clearly one of the high points of the series. Here, then, is the second of the volumes dedicated to Schubert’s settings of poems by his Austrian contemporaries, and very rare material it all is, I don’t recollect ever having heard any of them. Yet all are attractive if without quite displacing in my mind the well-tried favourites. "Die Unglückliche" is one that maybe deserves a regular place in our programmes, and "Die Allmacht" is a useful addition to the small repertoire of lieder on religious subjects – it would make a good pairing in recital with "Litanei". For the rest, what a treasure trove is Schubert, even relatively minor Schubert. By the way, this disc contains none of those interminable ballads which weigh heavily on some other discs in the series and it also contains a curiosity in the form of Schubert’s one and only melodrama – "Abschied". Roth’s speaking voice is almost as beautiful as his singing voice.

David Vernier, October 2004

"9 Artistic Quality/9 Sound Quality

Naxos scores another winner in its ongoing Schubert-Lied-Edition (this is Volume 17 in the overall series), again ideally matching soloist to repertoire and organizing a varied program that includes some rarely-heard songs. The music isn't all among Schubert's finest or most inspired songwriting--indeed, there's a lightness of weight and spirit inherent in the melodic/harmonic makeup of many of the songs, partly owing to their themes ("joy", "drinking", "contentment") and perhaps to their lack of textual profundity. However, in songs such as "Der Unglückliche" (The unhappy one), "An die Geliebte" (To the beloved), "Die Sterne" (The stars), "Die erste Liebe" (The first love), and "Vergebliche Liebe" (Love in vain), Schubert is at the top of his form, and there are enough of these more musically and emotionally involving songs to more than keep our full attention through the complete recital.

Of course, much of this is due to baritone Detlef Roth, whose warm tone, burnished with a pleasing edge of brightness, invests in each lied a conviction and interpretive artistry that makes for beautiful vocalism while really conveying meaning and mood. You have no problem identifying the emotional context of any of these songs, just by hearing Roth's particular tone-color or manner of inflection, placement of a vowel, dynamic shaping of a phrase, and so forth--just as good singers should do, but don't always succeed as convincingly as this. My only complaint is Roth's tendency to articulate runs (in "Die Frölichkeit", for instance) by placing an "h" in front of each note, an unnecessary distraction, however slight.

The sound gives a bit of a hard edge in the louder-volume treble piano registers--again a slight but noticeable distraction--but otherwise, the acoustic environment is well-captured and suits the voice to perfection. Ulrich Eisenlohr gives excellent support and interpretive depth to the songs, as he has done for many other singers in this series. Roth is a wonderful artist, and I look forward to hearing him again, perhaps in another Schubert-Lied-Edition installment."

Robert Croan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 2004

"Don't be put off by the fact that most of Schubert's songs ("Lieder") are in German. With the excellent printed texts and translations provided in Naxos' ongoing complete series, they are considerably easier to follow and enjoy than many of today's pop. They have been recorded before -- individually and in complete sets -- but Naxos has the advantages of using singers whose native language is German, and benefiting from the most recent research in Barenreiter's New Schubert Edition.

The project also showcases many of the best younger generation German singers. Individual CDs are arranged according to the poets Schubert used, some of the greatest (and many not-so-great) of his time.

The present disc is the second devoted to poets who were Schubert's Austrian contemporaries. The singer is baritone Detlef Roth -- quite brilliantly accompanied by pianist Ulrich Eisenlohr. Roth is equally at home with the lively, happy songs ("Wiederspruch," "Lob des Tokayers") as the sad or contemplative ("Der Ungluckliche," "Die Sterne"). And while his voice is on the light side, he does not flinch at the grand, prayer-like "Die Allmacht" -- probably the best-known song on this thoroughly delightful selection.

If you should want to venture beyond Schubert, try his contemporary Carl Loewe, little known in this country, whose Lieder are being surveyed in an equally admirable series on the Naxos-distributed label, CPO."

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