Lieder (Prey, Hokanson, Engel)

Schubert: Lieder. Hermann Prey (baritone), Leonard Hokanson, Karl Engel (piano). Philips


Hermann Prey's expressive projection often achieves an immediate contact that can be most moving as well as engaging. Du bist die Ruh contains some compelling examples. Much of their attraction derives from the intense yet effortless musicality of the diction, which preserves both the poetic line and the melodic line intact and mutually enhanced. But this absence of forcing sometimes entails a comparative lack of force, especially in matters of characterization; thus although the singing of Erlkönig is clearly distinguished, the different voices are not. Conversely the intensity of verbal projection can occasionally overshoot the mark, as in the exaggerated heartiness of the Shakespeare Ständchen. But all such mild complaints are readily cured by the invigorating directness of Prey's treatment. The accompaniments, too, are for the most part refreshingly clear and bright, in both interpretation and recording. The underwater swirl and surface-breaking flick of Leonard Hokanson's Trout is well matched by the delicate splashing of Karl Engel's mordents in Der Fischer. In sum, the programme, performance and production alike could and should have made this recital a highly recommendable initiation into the Schubert Lied in a representative variety of styles and moods. Unfortunately, Philips have omitted to supply any English translations; and in this vital respect their record remains sadly unimpressive.


© gramophone, May 1978 (p. 1921)