The Times reviews Matthias Georne and Leif Ove Andsnes in recital at the Wigmore Hall in London:

“No one does death like Matthias Goerne. The eyes stare, the body describes every melodic arc of anguish, the bass register penetrates the very heart of darkness. So a programme in which he interleaved six of Shostakovich’s death-permeated songs from the Michelangelo Suite with Mahler’s intimations of mortality was clearly going to sell out the Wigmore Hall.

“But would it work? Suffice it to say that so compelling was Goerne’s curating of this programme, and so entirely gripping both his performance and that of his pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, that the sensibility of both composers was thrown into new and revelatory relief.

“After Mahler’s Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft and Shostakovich’s Utro (Morning) had celebrated Goerne’s legendary breath control, he turned to Des Knaben Wunderhorn with its dark, folk-inspired visions of the fragility of love and life. Wo die schoenen Trompeten blasen, a dialogue between a dead soldier and his lover, was attenuated almost to the point of non- existence — as were two songs from the Kindertotenlieder. Here, Andsnes’s pianistic skill in sustaining all but orchestral accompaniments was formidable.

“The interval was flanked by two extraordinary performances: Mahler’s Urlicht, sung as though the voice spanned infinite ages of time and space; and Shostakovich’s Noch (Night), the bass within Goerne’s baritone more resonant than ever. Then came biting anger and stark, percussive piano playing raging against all dying. The page-turner leant inside the piano to numb its strings and turn the drumroll of Der Tambourg’sell into a death rattle — a telling gimmick, dwarfed by the stature of the performance itself.

“The rest was not silence, but the single, perfect encore: Beethoven’s dramatic seven-minute vision of hope, An die Hoffnung.”



Source: The Times