Gifted American tenor William Ferguson took us on this journey last night and didn't miss a single emotion. We belong to the subgroup of lieder fans who want all the drama. We further belong to the subgroup that believes this cycle about youth should be sung by a young man. This past year we have heard it magnificently sung by tenor Paul Appleby and baritone Jesse Blumberg. Mr. Ferguson's magnificence was no less. We felt ourselves sharing his joy, his exaltation, his rage and his pain. Fortunately we did not wish to commit suicide at the end so we mopped the tears from our eyes and congratulated him on a very fine performance. Mr. Ferguson informed us that he learned the cycle ten years ago and hasn't sung it since. We hope he will sing it again soon. We felt sad for the hero but happy for Mr. Ferguson's success in tackling this intensely dramatic work and doing it justice.
The lack of translation may have hampered those without a knowledge of German but we understood every word due to his fine diction. Although not a native German speaker, we did notice that, like most American singers, there is a bit of confusion regarding the pronunciation of the final "g" and "ch"; but we can't say it hampered our enjoyment.
The reknowned Brian Zeger was, as one would expect, a major contributor as piano partner. Schubert was perhaps the first composer to put the piano in such an important position. One could hear the brook rushing along just as one could hear the mill wheels turning. Could there be any finer piano writing or playing? We think not!
(c) meche kroop