Album: Schumann, Maria Stuart Lieder (Opus 135) (Harmonia Mundi)

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The Independent Culture

This is an a typically uneven recital from Bernarda Fink.

At its centre is Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, Schumann's late, spare setting of words that may or may not have been written by Mary, Queen of Scots.

The cycle fits Fink's grave, elegant voice ideally, while pianist Anthony Spiri gently highlights some of the stranger timbres. In the Rückert and Myrthen songs, "Jemand" and "O Sonn', o Meer, o Rose!" have extraordinary shimmer, but the long, high phrases of Liederkreis sound dry and frail.