Belatedly, I wish to add a bit to the NYT review of this event--with which I essentially agree. In the Purcell songs, the duo did find and express something brand new. Still, the right period and regional diction remains an integral element of these songs. A couple of months before, I heard Dame Emma Kirkby perform similar material. So, going into the intermission I felt let down by the strange diction of this performance.

But during the second half, innovations, including vocalise and the strumming of piano strings, made it totally astonishing and compelling. Anything less than the faultless musicianship and teamwork of these artists would have fallen flat. This part was pure delight.

No doubt I was not the only audience member who laments the rarity of opportunity to hear Schäfer perform Lieder in concert. Thankfully, for an encore Schäfer did perform two Lieder I have since been unable to identify; I think they were Schubert. I fault her for not announcing what they were. I wish singers would drop the pretense of spontaneity and go ahead and include the texts of anticipated encores with the program notes.
Posted on 27 Feb 2010, 5:47 PM