The protagonist of the new album by Christoph Prégardien and Michael Gees has not yet arrived on the scene at the start and is awaited with the greatest yearning. “Come sweet death! Come blessed rest! Come, lead me in peace, for I am weary of the world, ah come!” Thus the opening of the aria from Bach’s Schemelli Liederbuch, which starts the programme “Between Life and Death”. Death not as the end but as the beginning of a better life – perhaps this message, filled with baroque certainty of salvation and unshakeable quietude, sounds as remote for us today as the afterlife itself. Christoph Prégardien frankly admits to admiring the people of Bach’s time somewhat for their trusting relationship to death: “Today death has been pushed out of our life almost completely, outlawed to the hospital ward and old people’s home. And this is the very reason we have compiled our programme: so that people become a little more aware that death is always in our midst. That we can’t ignore it, but have to accept it.” Death is in actual fact a close confidante, at least for Prégardien and Gees. It was so to speak their companion on their first Schubert album together “Abschied und Reise” (Songs of farewell and journey), also the Heine programme “Geliebte Schmerzen” (Beloved Pain). So it is scarcely any wonder that “Between Life and Death” also revolves around the Romantics: Schubert and Schumann, where in the end death is the sole remaining friend of the lonely human being, Brahms, where it quietly slips into the song idylls of late summer, and finally Mahler, where the no man’s land “between life and death” really does open up for all those souls who have become lost to the world.