Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
Recommended Further Listening: For further examples from Schumann's miraculous 'year of song' of 1840, turn to his two Liederkreis cycles and Dichterliebe, performed by tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Anna Tilbrook.
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MusicWeb International
'James Gilchrist is a very fine exponent of these songs and Anna Tilbrook offers distinguished playing. I enjoyed their performances very much and, more than that, there were many passages that I found moving.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'Tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Anna Tilbrook allow each cycle to unfold naturally, minutely adjusting the spaces between certain songs to allow the ear to absorb what it has just heard...If Gilchrist and Tilbrook have waited a long time to record these works, their perspective on Dichterliebe, poignant, reflective and weather-worn, has only deepened.'
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The Washington Post
'Gilchrist [is] such a successful Schumann interpreter...Few of us would have the stamina to relive the ups and downs of young love, but hearing its evocation in these beautiful songs superbly performed is a tantalizing reminder.'
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5 Stars
'...this album has definitely to be counted among the best Schumann Lied recordings currently available.'
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The New Listener
,,it James Gilchrist hat Linn Records einen erstklassigen Tenor gefunden...Seine Stimme ist unverkennbar markant mit einem recht weiblichen Timbre und einer gewissen Zartheit...''
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Sinfini Music
'[Gilchrist] is an intelligent and observant interpreter of both words and notes...Anna Tilbrook’s pianism is more consistently rewarding, not only in her varied tone but in her fluent and consistently spirited musicianship.'
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'These are lyrical performances, nicely fluent in pace...Gilchrist's sensitive Schumann has its own distinctive flavour...'
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James Gilchrist - Schumann: Song Cycles - McAlister Matheson Music

01 September 2015
McAlister Matheson Music
Will Tamblyn

Every once in a while comes a disc so perfectly formed that we marvel at its existence. Here, we are graced with an exceptional interpretation of Schumann's song cycles by pianist Anna Tilbrook and tenor James Gilchrist.

On the disc are 37 songs distributed over three of these Liedercyklus (to use Schumann's own term): Liederkreis Op. 24, Liederkreis Op. 39 and Dichterliebe Op.48.

Finished in early 1840, Op. 24, using the text of the radicalist Heinrich Heine (1979-1856), is short at only nine pieces but is archetypal in its content: boy meets girl, is rejected, gets angry, is then despondent and finally reflects. Titled ‘Liederkreis', which means ‘Song Circle' as opposed to ‘cycle', the work follows the form of Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte in that, as a complete, narrative work, the melodic form of the work flows as a whole and begins and ends in the same key.

Although Schumann used the same title for Op.39, published in 1842 to texts by Joseph von Eichendorff (1788-1857), this latter, longer work actually behaves more like a ‘cycle'; i.e. although the poetry is connected by a theme of Germanic fairytales and heroism, the construction of each song is as individual in its conception.

Having seen a fabulous performance by the same artists of this particular cycle at the Edinburgh International Festival recently, I must admit to a slight apprehension before I listened to the disc for fear that the magic of Gilchrist and Tilbrook's physical connection to the music would be somehow damaged upon recording. How wrong I was: every ounce of Gilchrist's on-stage presence is transferred effortlessly to disc, and Tilbrook is right in treating the piano's role as an equal counterpart.

Both musicians work seamlessly together to deliver a truly captivating performance. Their musicianship does equal justice to the Op. 24 and to the Dichterliebe settings. All in all, these are sublime performances of exquisite music.

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Related Links

Anna TilbrookAnna Tilbrook
James GilchristJames Gilchrist
Schumann: Song CyclesSchumann: Song Cycles