Album: Elizabeth Watts/Roger Vignoles, Schubert Lieder (RCA/Red Seal)

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The Independent Culture

Having won the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize, the Kathleen Ferrier Prize, and two 2007 Young Artist of the Year prizes, Elizabeth Watts is clearly one of the brightest new talents.

For her recording debut she's chosen a selection of Schubert lieder, from crowd-pleasers such as "Night and Dreams" to the darker tones of Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy. The verses set by Schubert are very of their time, focusing on the allegorical pantheism favoured in German Romanticism of the period: at times, it's like listening to the musical equivalent of a windswept Caspar David Friedrich landscape, with the singer gazing out over some emotional abyss. Watts treats the material with care and restraint, her measured delivery conveying an appealing elegance, particularly on love songs such as the exquisite nocturne "Nearness of the Beloved". She's greatly aided by pianist Roger Vignoles, matching her playful delivery of "The Trout" with frolicsome flourishes as the fish splashes in the brook.

Pick of the album:'I Send You Greetings', 'Nearness of the Beloved', 'Night and Dreams', 'The Trout'

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