This should clinch it: Jonas Kaufmann is the pre-eminent Wagner tenor of this generation. (Slated to sing Manrico soon, and judging from his Werther, he may just be the pre-eminent tenor, period.) For those who haven’t heard him, the voice is dark and manly, with easy ascents above the staff at all dynamic ranges (including some crooning that can become more like a mannerism than a service to the music), a top that rings loud and clear, phrasing that confirms great musicianship, a smooth legato, and flawless diction.
Somewhat unexpectedly, baritone Matthias Goerne has emerged as one of the rising Wagnerian singers of our time, making something of a transition from the art song repertoire of Schubert and Schumann to music drama in a series of important recordings, including appearing as Wotan in Jaap van Zweden's Ring cycle on Naxos. For this 2017 Harmonia Mundi release, Goerne joins Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in The Wagner Project, a double-disc sampler of vocal and orchestral highlights from Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde, Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Parsifal, and of course, Der Ring des Nibelungen.
There are few composers who have vanished from music history to the extent of Johann Abraham Schmierer. We know very little about this composer’s origins, education, career and life journey. Some listeners, during or after hearing this recording, may well wonder why this music – despite its undeniable qualities and relatively early publication (already in 1902 in the tenth volume of Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst) – has not been recorded earlier. One reason is surely the fragmentary character of the collection, for six suites are obviously missing.