Album review: Ian Bostridge, Britten Songs (EMI Classics)


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The Independent Culture

Surely the world's leading current interpreter of Britten lieder, Ian Bostridge exhibits a confident command here of the composer's polyglot settings of Hardy, Hölderlin and Michelangelo.

There's an almost snake-like quality about the way he delivers some lines, as if relishing the sharing of a confidence; but his intonation of the words “plumes” and “twitch” in “Wagtail and Baby” shows how deeply he's considered them, deftly incorporating their contrasting tones into a smoothly flowing line. The balance of youthful vivacity and wistful nostalgia in “Die Jugend” is beautifully conveyed, and at his gentlest, there's a princely elegance about his tender “Veggio co' bei vostri”.

Download: Midnight on the Great Western; Die Jugend; The Old Lute; Veggio co' bei vostri