Mark Padmore’s recording has much to be said for it. It is sung in the original keys rather than the lower keys preferred by baritones and basses. The singer has an agreeable voice, although it lacks the romantic warmth of German voices; he is musically sensitive and meets all the dramatic and emotional demands of the music.
His voice does not, however, appear to be a very strong one. Its compass also seems somewhat limited. His low notes are not firm and the quality of his voice sometimes deteriorates when the tessitura gets too high for him, particularly in strenuous passages. At other, quieter, moments, his singing almost verges on crooning. As might be expected, Paul Lewis gives a highly musical and technically efficient account of the piano part, but he does not make the most of the onomatopoeic passages, such as the leaves rustling in Der Lindenbaum and the dogs barking in Im Dorfe.
The best tenor performance I have heard in recent years has been that by Christoph Pregardien (Teldec), but intending purchasers might also like to consider Hans Hotter’s performance (lately re-issued by EMI in a box set) and also Thomas Quasthoff on RCA. Padmore’s is a noble effort but not strong enough in a highly competitive field.