Schumann Dichterliebe

Koen van Stade, tenor

Neal Peres Da Costa, piano

Deux Elles DXL1193

Dutch tenor Koen van Stade and Australian pianist Neal Peres Da Costa have released a very interesting CD of Schumann’s Dichterliebe or The Poet’s Love, a series of 16 songs based on the poems of German poet, Heinrich Heine.  To quote American musicologist Dr Jeremy Grimshaw: “When hearing Schumann’s 1840 collection, Dichterliebe, one must not only look for correspondences between poetic image and musical figure, but artistic incongruities, as well — moments where Schumann steps back from the verse, takes a critical stance, and engages with the poet on equal and sometimes even contradictory ground.” And this is precisely the point of this new presentation of the song cycle. Both Van Stade and Da Costa are specialists in historically informed performance and with considerable success have recreated the 16 song cycle in the manner in which they believe Schumann meant them to be sung and played. The result is considerably more expression than is normally accorded to these very personal songs by the singer and an at times eccentric accompaniment which is supported by a fascinating illustration in the accompanying booklet. The end result of the couple’s years of research has produced a first-class performance which should delight any Schumann fan.

Michael Morton-Evans