This is labeled as Volume 2 of Matthias Goerne’s Schubert Edition, where he has selected the songs that mean the most to him from across Schubert’s vast spectrum of lieder issues, cycles and all. Though disc two seems to be gravitating around the poetry of Goethe and Mayrofer, I can find little specific thematic elements in this collection aside from the choices of the artist, and that is fine. The music has a specific meaning to all concerned, and it is hardly out of bounds for any artist to want to sing the works that most appeal. Goerne is fortunate to be linked with a company like Harmonia mundi, who have not only readily acceded to his requests, but have named a whole collection after him!
Goerne’s baritone should be no mystery to anyone by now; while perhaps not as rich and deep as Fisher-Dieskau’s, and definitely not as affective towards the text (who was?), his lighter more lyrical bent in many ways allows him even greater interpretative flexibility to wind his way through the multitude of these songs. He has the capacity to go deeper in tone if he wants; it’s just that it is not his natural state of voice, and the way he allows himself to float above the line, so to speak, adds a particular luster to the vocal melody and a decided emphasis to the understandability of the text.
So one can’t really go wrong with this collection, unless one is going to be insistent on the integrity of complete cycles. Me, I’ll just enjoy the ride that Goerne and his two companions take me on, some of the most intelligent and certainly well-recorded Schubert on the market today.
— Steven Ritter