The chemistry of this recital is fine-tuned by Holzmair’s own fine vocal sensibility and Imogen Cooper’s sentient accompanying. Holzmair’s baritone is to be enjoyed like a light, fragrant wine: the distant, almost distracted humming of ‘Die Taubenpost’ and ‘Sehnsucht’ (‘Longing’) darkens effortlessly into ‘Warrior’s Foreboding’ through the finest shadings of vocal colour and tension; while rhythmic precision and snarling vowels build their own mighty weight for the world of anguish borne by ‘Der Atlas’ and staring through the eyes of ‘Der Doppelgänger’. Performance *****, Sound *****
Schwanengesang is given first rate treatment. I particularly admired the youthful, keen ardour brought to Standchen as well as the remarkable clarity of Cooper’s playing, so very difficult to achieve in Aufenthalt where, more often than not, the piano part can sound thick-textured and blurred. Here, fittingly, the vocal line comes across like a cry of pain. Listen, too, for that sinister sense of foreboding which Holzmair and Cooper conjure up in Herbst.