Outside of pop music - where tastes are influenced partly by social background, partly by personal inclination - everything else I have discovered by myself. These, often clumsy and auto didactic steps into fields of such various genres as jazz, blues and country music often brought me immense pleasure and prompted even more excursions into whizzing eclecticism but nothing thrills me as much as classical music. How on earth I came from my working class background to Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann is one of the biggest mysteries and wonders of my life, but arrived I did and sometimes, when in the right frame of mind, I genuinely suspect its the only music worth listening.
At first, Lieder was not really my thing. With so much to chose from, it kind of appeared too stiff, too rigid, too formal. Where operas could be fun in their overblown way, singers sincerely moving and instrumentalists dazzling in their virtuosity, lieder was initially my worse enemy. Either I changed or gradually warmed up to the genre (or discovered right recordings) but at this point you can hear me actually humming along with darn thing, to my biggest surprise. German tenor Peter Schreier is celebrated for the beauty of his voice and rightfully so - like mythological Orpheus, his seductive, sophisticated singing tugs at my heartstrings with such power that it almost makes me tingle. On this album its all about romantic Lieder, previously mentioned composers plus Felix Mendelssohn with whom I am not so well acquainted yet, but Schubert and Schumann I know so well that I can tell this is sensational performance of the highest order. The album opens with a song from "Die Schöne Mullerin" and it just rolls nicely on further trough some of the most beautiful melodies from Lieder repertoire, like "Du bist die Ruh", "Die Lotosblume" and hypnotic "Mondnacht" (that I heard first on classical album by Barbra Streisand, of all places!) - Schreier gently caresses these lyrics with almost unbearable tenderness and everything is pleasantly dreamy. Pianist Walter Olbertz is much more than mere accompanist, his is the perfectly distinctive voice flowing like a mountain stream. So far the only other piano & voice recording that got me so enthralled was 1950."Gabriel Fauré Recital" by Gérard Souzay but Fauré is different experience, his music is almost painfully otherworldly to the point that I just want to sit somewhere and purr with my toes curling.