Review: Rosemary Standley’s “Schubert in Love”

Schubert songs are considered the culmination of lieder. Now a new recording by folk singer Rosemary Standley has been released, which sounds very different from the many recordings before.

It’s the voice that first strikes you. Clear and warm, but somehow also silvery, rough and idiosyncratic. Classic song singing doesn’t sound like that, but Rosemary Standley isn’t a classic singer either. She has been the front singer in the French folk band Moriarty for many years and is part of the chamber pop duo Birds on a Wire. She also works regularly in classic crossover projects.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW at: ALBUM DER WOCHE | 02.11. – 08.11.2020 – Rosemary Standley: “Schubert in Love” | rbbKultur

Favorite songs

On her new CD “Schubert in Love” she recorded a number of songs by Franz Schubert together with the Contraste ensemble. All personal favorite pieces, ranging from the “serenade” to the “winter trip” to Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. A popular selection that sounds completely new in the arrangements of Johan Farjot, the musical director of Ensemble Contraste.

Schubert as a pop composer

Johan Farjot has rearranged the piano parts of Schubert’s songs for viola, double bass, guitar, drums and piano. Schubert on guitar, bass and drums: this transforms his songs into songs, turns softly throbbing rhythms into swinging ones. Farjot jumps very skillfully between classical, jazz and world music in his arrangements. In some places he even flashes Kurt Weill. He wanted to show Schubert “as a pop composer,” said Farjot. Because the intimacy that defines his music is basically exactly the same intimacy that singer-songwriters work with.

Bonus: an opera singer in a duet

There are also two duets on the album that Rosemary Standley sang together with the French baroque soprano Sandrine Piau. The only moment on the album when Rosemary Standley briefly doubted her project:

” Sandrine is a real opera singer, I’m not. But Johan calmed me down and said: Don´t worry, don´t worry! Don’t worry! It will be good! And yes, I think it actually sounds good, really nice.”

Singer-songwriter Schubert

“Schubert in Love” is a charming, playful and idiosyncratic interpretation that shows that you can approach Schubert’s songs in a completely different way. This is not about highly developed artistic singing, but about playing with different sounds and moods.

In addition, Rosemary Standley sings convincingly clear – and proves that as a folk singer you can get to the bottom of Schubert.

Beate Stender, rbbKultur

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW at: ALBUM DER WOCHE | 02.11. – 08.11.2020 – Rosemary Standley: “Schubert in Love” | rbbKultur


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