The Spectator, Aug 25, 2001
by Michael Tanner
Schumann: Four songs from Opus 35 and Dichterliebe Opus 48; Liszt: Three Petrarch Sonnets (1838 versions); Richard Strauss: Six songs
Edinburgh 2001, the first week
Queen's Hall
One of the most appealing features of the festival is the possibility of spending each evening at a large-scale musical event, and each morning (except of course Sunday) at the Queen’s Hall. (…)

Fine as the quartet mornings were, the two peaks of the week in the Queen’s Hall were song recitals. In the first a young German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, new to me and to everyone I have spoken to, created a sensation with his hypnotic, indeed overpowering reading of Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’, accompanied ideally by Helmut Deutsch. A pupil of Hans Hotter, he sings with the same directness and art-concealing art, a comparable warmth of tone though of course in a different register. This amazing cycle, always fresh and susceptible of new layers of irony, struck so many notes of pain, all the more chilling for the unaffected delivery, that if Kaufmann had been a less remarkable phenomenon it would have been tempting to leave it at that. As it was, he revealed a quite different kind of mastery by his rapt delivery of Liszt’s three Petrarch Sonnets, showing a Carreras-like warmth of tone, opening up to magical effect. It’s astonishing that a major recording company has not yet taken Kaufmann up and packaged him; no doubt that will happen soon.

The other song recital (…)

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