Baritone Kelly Markgraf opened the program with songs of romantic love fulfilled--An Chloen and Hochzeitlied. His fine large voice filled Central Presbyterian Church with resounding joy while his powerful stage presence lent credibility to the text. It must be noted that Mr. Markgraf's German is superlative; we are always grateful when the singer is unafraid of the final "ch" or "g". So many singers try to fake it or ignore it.
Mezzo Jazimina (we LOVE that name) Macneil has a most pleasant voice and sang Jacobi's "In der Mitternacht" and Novalis' "Nachthymne" as well as sharing Novalis' cycle of four hymns with Mr. Markgraf.
In the second half of the program we heard tenor James Barbato singing some rather sad songs by Jacobi and Schubart; his voice is particularly affecting in the middle of his range. Soprano Mary Feminear introduced us to a charming song by Schubart "An mein Klavier", a love song to a piano. But she really shone in the Suleika songs of von Willemer in which she gave herself over to the ecstasy of the words and music.
As usual, artistic co-directors of Schubert@Co. Lachlan Glen and Jonathan Ware served as piano partners. Their pianism is flawless and always makes it clear what Schubert wanted to say in his writing. We want to acknowledge them once more for giving us the opportunity to hear some lesser known lieder. They all deserve to be more widely performed.
We are eagerly awaiting the next installment of this exhaustive perusal of Schubert's vocal oeuvre. Schedule is available on their website.
(c) meche kroop