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September 26, 1999|CHRIS PASLES

*** BEETHOVEN, KRUFFT, LACHNER: Lieder

Christof Pregardien, tenor;

Andreas Staier, fortepiano

Teldec

Despite Pregardien's fine-honed tenor, he and the accomplished Staier fail to make a case that Krufft and Lachner are anything but minor composers. A contemporary of Beethoven, Krufft was a civil servant who had a knack for writing inoffensive melodies. A friend of Beethoven and Schubert, Lachner is more interesting. In his day, he was actually considered as good a lieder composer as Schubert. But the judgment won't hold. Pleasant and melodious enough,his songs don't stick in the mind or deeply probe the Heinrich Heine texts (some set memorably by Schubert and Schumann).

Beethoven's "An die ferne Geliebte" offers far greater opportunities for interpretation, fortunately splendidly realized.

All the Lachner and almost all of the Krufft songs are recorded here for the first time.

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