Wayfaring by Umberto Clerici & Karin Schaupp

Wayfaring, a collaboration between Italian-Australian cellist Umberto Clerici and German-Australian guitarist Karin Schaupp, traces a path ‘from birth to death, with everything in between’. Considering repertoire for solo cello and guitar is scant, Wayfaring features a number of song transcriptions spanning from the early baroque to the present day, rather than music originally intended for that combination. The cello is an instrument capable of imitating the wails and sighs of the human voice, and the plucked-string guitar provides sonorous contrast. Clerici and Schaupp, therefore, are well-suited bedfellows.

I approached this recording with some trepidation, because Clerici and Schaupp have recorded a number of my favourite songs, such as Ravel’s haunting Kaddisch, and Schubert’s Frühlingstraum from Wintereisse, and I have misgivings about meddling with already perfect music. Do these songs – and others – have the same impact when performed by a duo of instruments other than voice and piano? Thankfully, yes. While Schaupp’s guitar does not have the same resonance as a piano, and while Clerici’s cello can draw out longer lines than the voice without need of a breath, the combination suits the simplicity of songs like Brahms’s Es steht ein Lind, and the folksong ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. A lovely, contemplative album.

Alexandra Mathew is a classical music specialist at Readings Carlton.

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Umberto Clerici, Karin Schaupp

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