Benjamin Appl, Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year winner last year, has been lauded by critics for recent recording, Heimat, which includes songs by Brahms, Britten, Grieg, Ireland, Poulenc, Reger, Schubert, Adolf and Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Warlock and Wolf. The recording, featuring Appl’s “beautifully produced diction” (The Guardian), is the young baritone’s debut recording with Sony Classical.
Michael Tanner (BBC Music Magazine) was effusive with his praise, writing of the soloist:
“Appl is not only a singer of boundless promise, he is already a great artist. This disc shows how versatile he is, with not only great Lieder but interesting rarities too. Appl was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s last pupil, but his singing is firmly based in legato, and the expression comes through the music, whereas Fischer-Dieskau often seemed to apply it from outside. Appl sounds as if singing is his most natural mode of expression; and since he has an extraordinarily beautiful voice, there should be decades of happiness as he continues to expand his repertoire.”
Hugo Shirley, writing for Gramophone, wrote of Appl’s connection with the repertoire:
“The voice has burnished, oaky, beauty as well as considerable sweetness, while the interpretations are suffused with a gentle intelligence, an instinct for unforced but direct communication and what feels like a real love for the repertoire.”
Writing for The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning said:
“Appl’s suave, light baritone is ideally suited to this repertory. Indeed, he is an example to most of his contemporaries in this respect, and British lieder singers could learn from him.”
Neil Fisher (The Times) calls Appl “a serious and diligent artist” with a “mellow timbre and precise German diction”, whilst Richard Fairman (The Financial Times) simply states, “Benjamin Appl is the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists.”