It’s been such a bumper month for new recordings that I struggled to boil the list down to half a dozen prime recommendations. It’s also been an especially good time for the major labels and big names, so I thought I’d cover five of them first in detail and end with a brief roundup of half a dozen more that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
Two pleasant surprises first of all. If his previous Lieder albums have been a little hit-and-miss, Jonas Kaufmann ’s new lockdown-inspired disc of songs by Franz Liszt is an absolute knockout ( Sony 19439892602 ). The German tenor’s operatic experience helps bring these criminally underrated masterpieces tolife. He and his regular recital partner pianist Helmut Deutsch have handpicked some of Liszt’s very finest “andthere’s hardly a dull moment,” reports Justine Nguyen, describing Kaufmann as being “in handsome, clarion voice” and Deutsch “an ideal partner” who “finds both the darkness and wit in these songs”. Nguyen concludes that at 52, “one feels Kaufmann is only just coming into his prime as an interpreter of art song. How lucky we are.” Lucky indeed.