Puukko Elja & Risto Lauriala - Schubert: Schöne Müllerin (die) (CD)

$ 18.99


Release Date: 01/01/04

The first impression, through the four bars of piano introduction to Das Wandern, is a certain heaviness, not the playin

The first impression, through the four bars of piano introduction to Das Wandern, is a certain heaviness, not the playing in itself but rather a bass dominant recording. There is a tendency towards bombast in some places but that is in line with the overall concept which is dramatic and intense. Puukko has a clear voice, youthful in timbre with a dark kernel that makes his dramatic outbursts thrilling. In fortes he has an almost metallic brilliance; not unsuitable for a future Wotan. One of his teachers was Esa Ruuttunen - himself a wonderful Wotan at the Finnish National Opera. All this is finely demonstrated for example in Halt! (track 3) or the very energetic delivery of Ungeduld (track 7), where the sound of the piano is rather hard. He has the capacity to sing softly, inwardly with a very beautiful half-voice. Danksagung an den Bach (track 4) is a good example and so is Der Neugierige (track 6) where especially the middle section 'O Bächlein meiner Liebe ...' is sincerely done. There is, though, some slightly hesitant intonation and the voice is not absolutely steady. It seems that he is short on breath. This is no prevailing problem, though. The last three songs (tracks 18 - 20) are heartfelt and finely nuanced and the long Des Baches Wiegenlied (track 20) shows him at his very best. It is exquisitely sung.The overall impression is of a well-schooled singer with a beautiful and surprisingly powerful voice, which seems to be divided into two halves. Although he works hard on applying the right dynamics to each song - and succeeds very well in many cases - the remaining impression is of a slight monotony. He can't quite produce the light and shade nor can he colour the voice sufficiently. There is also a certain rhythmic stodginess. Comparing him to Herrman Prey in a 1974 Philips recording, the older singer is lighter and more vivacious, mostly also at a swifter tempo. Puukko plays safe by choosing uncontroversal middle-of-the-road speeds. The recording is good, apart from the bass heaviness I mentioned earlier, and the balance between singer and piano is fine. Having listened to this recording three times within a couple of days I have come to like his powerful and unfussy approach. It is, as I said, a thrilling voice that I will certainly want to hear again, not least as a corrective to some over-sophisticated interpretations. - Göran Fosling

Label: Alba Records
Genre: Classical
Run Time: 60 mins

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