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The folkloric inspiration of Brahms’ settings from the poet Ludwig Tieck’s Romance of Magelone the Fair and Peter Count of Provence requires unadorned vocal performance and all-knowing, perspicacious piano accompaniment. This challenging work was given a titanesque performance by baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and pianist Sviatoslav Richter (Orfeo d’Or). The tenor Peter Schreier, although raw-sounding, and pianist András Schiff made a more plausible team (Belvedere) Equally close to the guileless nature of the melodic line was Hermann Prey (Orfeo), offering uncomplicated vocal plushness. This is the tradition followed by the Belarusian baritone Nikolay Borchev, born in 1980 in Pinsk. With a satisfyingly rich voice and unfussy delivery, he is a natural in this repertoire. As might be expected, Borchev excels in stage roles such as Papageno, Dr Falke, and Mozart’s Figaro. His Lieder repertoire includes Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. Unfortunately, Boris Kusnezow is a lumbering and, at times, clueless accompanist.

Benjamin Ivry Read the full review on Agora Classica


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