Ian Bostridge's Sublime Schubert

By Daniel Ginsberg
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, September 24, 2005; C05

Listening to Ian Bostridge sing, you somehow feel closer to that elusive concept of musical perfection. The acclaimed English tenor reveals myriad detail and color in an art song…

the singer gave an unforgettable recital of Schubert selections to kick off the Vocal Arts Society's 15th anniversary season… with his longtime collaborator, pianist Julian Drake, Bostridge etched each work with a gorgeous tone, crystalline precision and utter concentration.

…Bostridge infused…"Im Fruhling" ("In Spring") with a noble simplicity that emphasized the contrast between fleeting love and a teeming pastoral landscape.

… such songs as "Aus Heliopolis" ("From Heliopolis") and "Abendbilder" ("Nocturne") embodied lonely determination and solitude. Here, Bostridge's singing took on a fuller volume and fire, though the songs still emerged carefully colored and phrased.…

Bostridge used pregnant pauses as much as singing to pace development of message and mood, and his overall characterization skills were superb. …

In "Totengrabers Heimweh" ("Gravedigger's Homesickness"), Drake brilliantly gave the piano harmonies an ethereal quality … As Drake's phrases moved up the registers, Bostridge took his voice beautifully to the upper ranges, as though striving toward some kind of boundless vista.


FRANZ SCHUBERT

Im Frühling (Schulze) D882
Uber Wildemann (Schulze) D884
Der liebliche Stern (Schulze) D861
Tiefes Leid (Schulze) D876
Auf der Brücke (Schulze) D853

Aus “Heliopolis” l (Mayrhofer) D753
Aus “Heliopolis” ll (Mayrhofer) D754
Abendbilder (Silbert) D650
Ins stille Land (Salis-Seewis) D403 (verse 1 only)
Totengräbers Heimweh (Craigher) D842

Auf der Riesenkoppe (Körner) D611
Sei mir gegrüsst (Rückert) D741
Daß sie hier gewesen (Rückert) D775

Die Forelle (Schubart) D550
Des Fischers Liebesglück (Von Leitner) D933 (verses 1, 2 and 4)
Fischerweise (von Schlechta) D881
Atys (Mayrhofer) D585
Nachtviolen (Mayrhofer) D752
Geheimnis (Mayrhofer) D491

Im Walde (Waldesnacht) (Schlegel) D708