Ann Mur­ray (mezzo so­prano), Mal­colm Martineau (pi­ano) ★★★★

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - MICHAEL DER­VAN

Linn Records CKD 443

Late Schu­mann is of­ten dis­missed, with the com­poser’s men­tal ill­ness as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. Ann Mur­ray, her­self now in the sun­set of a dis­tin­guished ca­reer, is hav­ing none of it on what is de­scribed as her fi­nal song

record­ing. She sings the Gedichte

der Köni­gin Maria Stu­art and the Wil­helm Meis­ter set­tings of Op 98a (which she shares with the com­mand­ing young bari­tone Benjamin Appl) with an un­af­fected di­rect­ness and a pal­pa­ble sin­cer­ity. There are oc­ca­sional mo­ments when the tone hard­ens un­der stress but, as in the se­lec­tion of songs by Brahms, this hardly mat­ters. Tenors, John Mark Ainsley and Johnny Lan­gridge (her son) also fea­ture in a hand­ful of Schu­mann duets. Mal­colm Martineau is an al­ways in­sight­ful ac­com­pa­nist.

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