Thomas Quasthoff Sings Schubert

These performances are absolutely extraordinary. Leaving aside the technical qualities of his singing (watch his lips as he handles the different vowels!) and the exquisitely sensitive accompaniment by Daniel Barenboim, what is most striking is the emotional truth of Quasthoff’s rendering.

These are some of the finest pieces of artsong I’ve ever heard.

Thomas Quasthoff

The extraordinary Thomas Quasthoff, singing improvisations on Miles Davis’ All Blues. One of the interesting things about this is that since he comes from a classical background (although he’s apparently loved and enjoyed jazz his whole life, which is pretty obvious from this performance), his handling of this piece has not a whiff of the “doing-a-standard-that’s-been-done-to-death-already” atmosphere which you sometimes find in the work of hipper-than-thou musicians who wouldn’t be caught dead singing something as hackneyed as, say, All Blues.

Or, for that matter, My Funny Valentine.