Schubert: Die Nacht

Anja Lechner violoncello, Pablo Márquez guitar
ECM New Series ECM 2555

This CD presents a selection of music by Schubert arranged for cello and guitar framed by three Nocturnes actually composed for cello and guitar by Schubert’s contemporary Friedrich Burgmüller. As Schubert himself played the guitar and there was a degree of flexibility about instrumentation at this time, it is perfectly conceivable that Schubert’s songs might have been presented in this way. The arrangement of the ‘Arpeggione Sonata’ is also very effective, and Anna Lechner’s cello fairly sings the lyrical Adagio as it does the Romanze from Schubert’s Rosamunde. The ECM New Series recordings are famous for their clarity and for making listeners rethink standard classics, but in my experience they are also notorious for their rather nebulous programme notes – a note which begins ‘Franz Schubert never felt inwardly secure’ is always going to tell you more about the writer than about the composer or the music. Here we could have done with more background about the prominence of the guitar in Viennese chamber music of this period rather than a lot of psychobabble. Notwithstanding, this is a very pleasant CD providing genuine insights into the music of Schubert, and providing a rare platform for the charming music of Friedrich Burgmüller.

D. James Ross

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