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Schubert: Schwanengesang

Schubert: Schwanengesang

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Tenor Ian Bostridge completes his Pentatone trilogy of Schubert song cycles with a rendition of Schwanengesang, together with the renowned pianist Lars Vogt. Schwanengesang was compiled and published after Schubert’s death, and the pieces are literally among his swansongs. Ranging from the romantic ‘Ständchen’ to the gloomy ‘Der Doppelgänger’, these lieder are all infused with a deep sense of melancholia and longing. Just like Winterreise, they are most suited for mature interpreters, both vocally and in terms of life experience, and this recording captures Bostridge’s ripened interpretation, enhanced by Vogt’s masterful playing. Schwanengesang is coupled with the extensive song Einsamkeit (Loneliness), which further adds to the desolate, but ultimately consoling character of the album. Pentatone is very grateful that Vogt managed to make this recording despite a serious medical condition. Sadly enough, he eventually did not live to see the album’s release.

Ian Bostridge is one of the most celebrated tenors and lied interpreters of his generation. His Pentatone recording of Schubert’s Winterreise (2019) was crowned with the ICMA Vocal Music Award 2020. Bostridge has also released Die schöne Müllerin (2020) and Respighi Songs (2021) with the label. Lars Vogt, one of the leading pianists of our time, makes his Pentatone debut.


This 2022 release, which pianist Lars Vogt did not live to see, is one of the pianist's swan songs, and it makes a fitting memorial. This may be one of the factors that propelled the album onto classical best-seller lists in the autumn of 2022, but the album has intrinsic merits on which it can rest.

Vogt delivers an exceptional performance as an accompanist in these pieces. To an unusual degree, they emancipate the accompaniment from the melody line, and Vogt's way of setting a whole scene with the introductions is uncanny. As for the star of the show, tenor Ian Bostridge, one notes a new richness in his lower register as he approaches his sixth decade. Otherwise, this is trademark Bostridge, with flexible lines tending toward an operatic approach, clear diction, and controlled emotion. Another draw is the presence of Einsamkeit, D. 620, a set of connected songs that shows Schubert responding directly to Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98. The real star here though, perhaps, is Vogt, and it is good to have this release to remember him.

-- (James Manheim)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Pentatone Music
    • UPC/Barcode: 827949078668
    • Item Number: PTC5186786