New release – Benjamin Appl & Graham Johnson ‘Schubert’

Benjamin Appl has released his second album of the season – a disc of some of Schubert’s finest lieder, recorded live in concert at the Wigmore Hall for the prestigious Wigmore Live label. The pianist is Graham Johnson, a leading Schubert expert and author of the acclaimed three volume encyclopedia ‘Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs‘ (Yale University Press 2014). The programme delves into Schubert’s music, showcasing the range of mood from the gentle ‘Am Bach im Frühling’ to the dramatic ‘Der Zwerg’.
Ben said “I think my favourite songs on the disc are ‘Die Gebüsche’ and ‘Im Abendrot’ – the first song is not really known, but it describes that only the one person, who is really open and receptive, will understand the message. I adore the harmonic changes. ‘Im Abendrot’ is one of my favourite songs ever. The triplets in the piano always reminds me of Alpine Music, near to where I was born and grew up. The song has one of the most beautiful melodies and I find it so comforting.
“Some singers say that of all song composers, Franz Schubert is the hardest to perform – and I can understand that! Very often when you look at the score, there are not many notes on the page and it sometimes looks very reduced. Everything can be very transparent; there are not many options to hide and you can almost have a feeling of ‘nakedness’ – you can get a real impression of the music and every detail is unhidden. This contains a certain ‘imperfection’ which for me, shows the real human traits, which is a fantastic strength in my opinion. It makes the music accessible and the performer approachable.”
Watch the promotional video here. The disc is available now and can be purchased here.
Earlier this season, Benjamin released his debut solo disc – ‘Stunden, Tage, Ewigkeiten’ with pianist James Baillieu. Watch Benjamin and James talk about the release here
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