Musical Opinion

Here is yet another Divine Art CD in which exceptional performances, enhanced by excellent recordings, offer an unexpected extra excitement to give a unique bonus to the collector.

I would have strongly recommended this disc after revelling in Stephan Loges’ wholly enjoyable and beautifully presented account of Schumann’s Dichterliebe, in which Alexander Schmalcz is always providing the perfect keyboard partnership to support the variety of expression and intensity Loges brings to his projection of Heinrich Heine’s poems. For the first bonus of the CD we are given the four Heine songs which Schumann took out of his initial twenty settings to create the Dichterliebe cycle.

The revelation in this programme comes with the six Robert Franz settings, each under two minutes in length but each an individual vocal jewel, exquisitely sung. Franz only wrote songs and these have been ignored until now. Surely quality singers, led by Stephan Loges, will soon bring them out of obscurity. Eight settings by Brahms, including a warmly evocative performance of the five in opus 49, complete this major new Divine Art CD.

—Denby Richards