If you love Shakespeare, and / or Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Berlioz and R. Strauss, you need to have this superb album in your collection. Walker is the most gratifying performer in opera and lieder, for beauty of voice (ravishing, audible silk); technique (perfection), intelligence (never-failing); phrasing (absolutely unsurpassed); and interpretation – Walker does not merely "sell" a song, or act convincingly, she etches her performance on your soul. Just listen to her interpretation of the excerpts from MacBeth, set to music by Joseph Horovitz: Walker is a candidate for best Lady MacBeth. One wonders what she would do with the part as straight drama. If that isn't enough, she caresses the Schumann and the Berlioz, nails the Brahms (no accompaniment – totally exposed voice), and slinks away with the tango "Under the Greenwood Tree."
Ian Bostridge brings his characterful lyricism, and singing of beautiful intelligence, to a welcome sixth volume in Graham Johnson’s comprehensive series. "The lovesick texts are somewhat overwrought and highly coloured to modern ears, but Bostridge is totally convincing, particularly in his wonderfully sensitive handling of the Op 96 collection. Johnson, that poet of the piano, underpins everything with just the right level of ardour—and he writes tremendous sleeve notes."
The program addresses a core issue facing men in their dating lives, efforts to succeed in their careers, as well as having a fulfilling life.