This disc by hunky-but-serious Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair has been in the can for more than three years, reflecting the shrunken market for lieder recordings but not the expansive quality of

This disc by hunky-but-serious Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair has been in the can for more than three years, reflecting the shrunken market for lieder recordings but not the expansive quality of this very special thematic recital. Juxtaposing nine composers' settings of verse by arch-Romantic German poet Joseph von Eichendorff, the album has an intimate, half-lit mood, with the atmospheres of night and nature relayed to perfection by Holzmair's plangent voice and pianist Imogen Cooper's ever-sensitive accompaniments. Schumann's Liederkreis (Op. 39) and nine wonderful Hugo Wolf songs form the disc's core, but there are excellent numbers ranging from Mendelssohn to the contemporary Aribert Reimann, with rarities by Korngold, Schoeck, and Robert Franz along the way. A crown atop Holzmair's admirable Philips discography.—BB