Telegraph, 20 July 2006
Richard Wigmore
Strauss: Lieder
Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Helmut Deutsch (piano)
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901879
Though he made a sensational Edinburgh Festival debut in 2001, and is booked to sing Walther in Die Meistersinger at this year's festival, Jonas Kaufmann is still relatively unknown in Britain.

This recital debut shows what we have been missing. In his mid-thirties, Kaufmann is arguably the finest tenor Germany has produced since Fritz Wunderlich, with a tone that is both muscular and capable of honeyed delicacy.

He is also a singer of rare musical discernment - an eloquent counter to Richard Strauss's barb that the tenor is less a voice than a disease.

Many of the 28 songs here are in Strauss's familiar ecstatic or nostalgic vein, and Kaufmann catches the rueful tenderness of Allerseelen and the other-worldly rapture of Morgen with no hint of mawkishness.

Die Nacht is magical in its veiled secrecy, while at the other end of the spectrum Kaufmann is thrillingly bold and impulsive in Cäcilie and displays a nice line in sardonic wit in the malicious Schlechtes Wetter.

Pianist Helmut Deutsch is a master of timing and colouring, and brings a virtuoso flair to Strauss's elaborate, quasi-orchestral writing. A glorious disc.

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