In the miraculous year of 1840, which Schumann began in despair, forcibly separated from Clara by her father, he composed nearly 150 lieder, including the two outstanding cycles presented here, based respectively on poems by the great Heine (the Liederkreis op.24) and by Justinus Kerner (the twelve Kernerlieder op.35).
Haunted from beginning to end by Romantic Nature, in the hands of two such outstanding artists as Matthias Goerne and Leif Ove Andsnes these two masterpieces invite us, performers and listeners alike, to share a state of transcendence, a heightened consciousness that transports us directly to the heart of lived experience itself.
There’s hardly an abrupt, harsh moment throughout. But Heinrich Heine’s suffering-infused words need more risk, edge and ugliness…In other words – not revelatory or devastating, but beautifully polished music-making. BBC Music Magazine ****/*****
Where Heine can rail or sneer, Schumann, typically, dreams; and no Lieder-singer does reverie better than Matthias Goerne…A word, too, for Andsnes’s sensitive timing and shading of Schumann’s dreamy and/or quizzical postludes…Other baritone have brought more light and shade to [the Kerner-Lieder]. But if you respond to Goerne’s peculiarly intense, concentrated art, the rewards here are deep and enduring. Gramophone