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By any standards, this is an exceptional recording. Originally released in 1999, it now appears in Harmonia Mundi’s ‘hm Gold’ series of reissues – and justly so, for every track is pure gold. Schubert’s fondness for night-inspired poetry is beautifully brought together in Marcus Creed’s sequence of vocal ensemble pieces, which includes the composer’s famous setting of Psalm 23. The opening Seidl setting, Nachtgesang im Walde (D913), sets the tone, with lively male voices and superb horn playing – we could be in the forests that surrounded Vienna in Schubert’s time. Birgit Remmert’s Ständchen (D920) might not match Janet Baker’s splendidly evocative recording, particularly in terms of what she does with the words, but it is nevertheless satisfying, as is Philip Mayers’s pianism on an instrument of 1825. The RIAS Kammerchor capture the jaunty cheeriness of Mayrhofer’s Der Gondelfahrer (D809) to perfection, as they do everything else in this heart-warming programme. Warmly recommended.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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