“This offering places Banse and Johnson among the most thoughtful and convincing of Schumann interpreters in the history of recording the composer's Lieder. From start to finish, in well-loved pieces and in others that will be new discoveries to many, the pair at once work in close concord and get to the heart of Schumann's very particular genius. The pair wholly dispel the oft-repeated view that Schumann's later songs are by and large failures: it's simply that the older man wrote differently from his younger, Romantically exuberant self. Thus the 1852 settings of Mary Stuart unerringly capture the soul of the troubled Queen's predicaments through the most concise means.
Not a florid or untoward gesture is allowed to destroy the mood of sustained concentration and intimate musings. Banse brings to the songs just the right sense of a person sharing her innermost thoughts with us, the mezzo-like warmth of her lower voice gainfully employed, Johnson's piano communing in consort with the voice.
Schumann showed himself equally in sympathy with the poems of Elisabeth Kulmann (Op 104), a susceptible girl who died at the age of 17, his writing here simple and apparently artless. The composer, amazingly, thinks himself into the thoughts of the imaginative, fanciful young poetess; so does his interpreter, Banse, here using a lighter, more palpitating tone.
The faultless recording completes one's pleasure in a very special issue.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“The care that has gone into the literary and musicological side of the project is perfectly matched by the musical results. Banse proves to be a wonderfully perceptive interpreter. In every respect this is a wonderful Lieder disc” The Guardian