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Matthias Go­erne (bari­tone),and Markus Hin­ter­häuser (pi­ano) ★★★★ Harmonia Mundi HMM 902243

The cover im­age shows the faces of the two per­form­ers through a win­dow, their ex­pres­sions par­tially ob­scured by re­flec­tions of leaf­less, win­try trees.

Einsamkeit – lone­li­ness – is the ti­tle of this col­lec­tion of 19, mostly lesser-known Schu­mann songs. Be­fore a sin­gle note is sung, the slightly hes­i­tant re­serve of Hin­ter­häuser’s pi­ano in­tro­duc­tion to Meine Rose (where the cen­tral metaphor is a rose “al­ready droop­ing and pale”) sets a tone of in­tro­spec­tion that clings to al­most ev­ery­thing that fol­lows. Think of the se­lec­tion of mu­sic, pre­dom­i­nantly from Schu­mann’s later out­put, as sung by Go­erne for him­self, in the melan­choly of a closed room with lit­tle light. har­mo­ni­a­mundi.com MICHAEL DERVAN

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