This evening of lieder, closing the Cambridge Early Music Festival of the Voice for 2016, included the chance to compare no less than four settings of Goethe’s iconic poem Erlkönig, the eerie tale of a son whose soul is stolen away by the Elf King while his body is being carried on horseback, in his father’s arms, through a dark forest. The last time I heard Erlkönig was in Reichardt’s version, as part of the highly experimental King Size at the Royal Opera House, and that time, its hypnotic structure and chilling conclusion gave me goosebumps all the way home. However, although the settings by Reichardt, Zelter, Klein and Loewe contrasted nicely in terms of style and approach to the text, James Gilchrist’s evident enjoyment of his singing tended to erode any sense of the truly eerie.
Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack. Mistake alert: in my Bachtrack review, I refer to Morgen und Abend, but I’ve since realised that the production I was thinking of was actually King Size. Corrected link above!