Album: Beethoven, Lieder und Gesänge – Ainsley/Burnside, Signum

There is something monumental about John Mark Ainsley's Beethoven – a heroic seriousness that suggests that even in the briefest of 'Lieder', or the most carefree 'Gesänge', the composer was writing for posterity.

There was little precedent for such intensity in song when these works were written and the lightness of 'Andenken' is unconvincing when compared to the murky hues of 'An die Hoffnung' or 'Wonne der Wehmuth'. Iain Burnside's fluid playing is delightful, while Ainsley's artistry is fascinating.

Pick of the album: Strong and serious, 'Die laute Klage'