German baritone Matthias Goerne has explored a series of high-profile pianist partnerships over the past few years – all lovingly documented on disc by Deutsche Grammophon.

Matthias Goerne

First there was award-winning Beethoven with Jan Lisiecki (2020), then a late-Romantic plunge into Wagner and Strauss with Seong-Jin Cho (2021). Now a collaboration with Daniil Trifonov that ranges across Brahms, Schumann, Wolf and Shostakovich heralds a shift of focus, promising to  “…consider Lied from a metaphysical rather than historical perspective”.

Leaving the metaphysics to the philosophers, what we really get here is a single arc of narrative, a super-cycle of 30 songs that move from sleep and dreams, through the wakeful anxieties and loss of Schumann’s poet-lover, before thoughts turn to the transience of human existence and, finally, to death and faith.

It’s a weighty program, one that Trifonov and Goerne initially toured as a live concert without interval, but which really comes into its own in the greater reflective space of a recorded recital.

Berg’s disorienting, dream-fuelled Vier Gesange ...