This is the only complete recording of the Myrthen Op. 25 cycle by Schumann, which combines many settings of Scottish poetry and of poetry reflecting on marriage, of personal importance to Schumann as he prepared to wed Clara. Although not of uniformly high quality, there are many fine songs in Myrthen.
One of the highlights of the disc - and I think reason enough to buy it -- is the 2nd duet from the Op. 34 set (track 2), "Unterm Fenster", where a young man demands to be allowed to climb up and into a young woman's bedchamber while she refuses to do so. The song uses circles of fifth and is rivetingly exciting. I'm getting chills just thinking about it. Another hard-to-find-selection that I think is outstanding is a slow and serious song "From Jewish Song" (track 19)-- very long, quite chromatic and with a complex structure.
So why is this not a great recording? The singing is fine but isn't outstanding. I am a big Ian Bostridge fan (his recording of the Schumann Op. 24 cycle is just great, to take just one example) but he doesn't have the same command and authority here as he does in his best performances. If you take the impressive song "Talisman" (track 12), the performance is fine but pales in intensity and sense of structure if you compare it to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's 1950s performance. Same with Dorothea Roschmann - she has a nice voice but doesn't have the interpretive strength of the top tier of singers. Her performance of "The Nut-tree" (track 7), the best-known song on this album, serves nicely but it is tentative when compared to a version by, say, Elly Ameling.
One thing that is outstanding about this CD is the booklet, which has extensive comments by the accompanist and organizer of the series, Graham Johnson.
So I listen to this CD with pleasure, am very happy to own it and think that, if you're very interested in Schumann, it's definitely worth getting. But it isn't an outstanding CD.