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Classical - Released January 1, 1978 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Lieder (German) - Released January 10, 1984 | Philips

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
When she recorded this sublime farewell to life in 1983, Jessye Norman was 38 years old. She was at the height of her glory, and the summit of her vocal power and of her art. At the time, some wondered if there wasn't a contradiction between that voice, so bursting with life, and the crepuscular, delicious morbidity of the late Strauss. As time went by, this record became a confirmed classic. The incandescence of this sumptuous voice is a perfect fit for the "red sky at night" of Im Abendrot that Eichendorff describes in the final poem of this cycle. With Jessye Norman's passing, this performance takes on an almost-metaphysical dimension. Her voice glides into a drawn-out breath in tormented melismas which sound almost like incantations. It speaks to us of life, of death, of the beauty of nature and the passage of time. At her side, Kurt Masur accompanies her with infinite subtlety, following the slightest melodic twists of the score with the superb Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, which has a history of performing Strauss's work. The style, the perfect intonation, the colours from every stand all mix together with this voice of sunlight and honey. If you're bound for a proverbial desert island, be sure to pack this record in your luggage. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 18, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released December 18, 2006 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
English composer Michael Tippett wrote his oratorio A Child of Our Time between 1939 and 1941. Written in the middle of the war, the work is typical of the writer's pacifism and anti-Nazism. It tells the story of a young man feeling out of place in the society around him. Inspired by the true story of a young Polish Jew who killed a German diplomat in 1938, providing the pretext for the horrors of Kristallnacht, this profane oratorio underscores the darkness and light which are a part of all of us. Formally, Tippett's situates itself in a long tradition of English oratorios going back to Handel's Messiah, structured around a succession of arias and recitatives in the style of Bach's Passions . The score is characterised by the use of American "spirituals", songs of oppression which also play the role of Bach's chorales. This album is the first of three recordings by Sir Colin Davis, a great defender of Tippett's music in general and of this masterpiece in particular. Made in London in 1975 with the exceptional voices and dramatic performances of Jessye Norman and Janet Baker, this vibrant manifesto for peace is conducted with great fervour by Sir Colin Davis, with the forces of the BBC on hand, supported by the voices of Richard Cassilly, tenor, and John Shirley-Quirk, bass. Begun on the day that Britain declared war on Hitler's Germany, this oratorio is a response to European barbarism and disunity. It is a strong work with a message which is as depressing as it is contemporary. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Classical - Released September 15, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1987 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 22, 2009 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released July 1, 1976 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released April 14, 1986 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1977 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Francis Poulenc dreamed of a great vocalist who would sing his melodies like la Tosca: that is, with a great, operatic voice. Jessye Norman's voice certainly fit the bill. This album is dedicated to French melodies, and it tells of Norman's love for France – a love which was mutual – and of her knowledge of the French repertoire. In this well-selected programme, Jessye Norman offers a kind of sampler of French melody, starting with Henri Duparc and his successful synthesis of German Lied and French melody. There follow two Hebrew melodies that illustrate Maurice Ravel's breadth of mind, before we end on the very Parisian melodies of Poulenc and Satie. This is a record of pure delight, all the more so as the American singer, discreetly supported by Dalton Baldwin, makes the words effortlessly intelligible, with a diction equals a great many French singers. A treat. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 1, 1979 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Given the eminence of the performers assembled for this recording, this is a particularly disappointing reading of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder. Both the conductor and the recording engineers must share the blame for the fact that this monumental oratorio, using one of the largest orchestras of any late romantic work, comes across as sounding dinky. The orchestra is especially anemic and colorless in the prelude, a vivid evocation of the sun setting in the forest, which is one of the most sumptuous and richly orchestrated early twentieth century tone paintings. The orchestra improves as the work progresses, and in other sections, such as the Song of the Wood Dove, and in the Hunt, it demonstrates that it's capable of producing a full sound, but the performance is too uneven to be satisfactory. Ozawa fails to convey a broad and meaningful sense of the work's architecture, which is especially critical in order for such a sprawling piece to make sense. This recording stands in sharp contrast to René Leibowitz's 1953 version, still available on Preiser, which captures the fullness of Gurrelieder's sweep and grandeur. James McCracken sings with rich, round tone, but his interpretation seems merely perfunctory. Tatiana Troyanos brings conviction and warmth to the role of the Wood Dove, but it lies uncomfortably low for her voice. Werner Klemperer's narration is dramatic and deeply felt, giving the final sections a momentum that had previously been lacking. Jessye Norman turns in a remarkable performance, her velvety voice at ease and expressive, consistently full throughout the extravagantly wide range that Schoenberg requires. The sound of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is distant and strained. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released July 2, 2012 | Warner Classics

This is a fine introduction to Jessye Norman's work and expands on a couple of her earlier "best of" releases, but even so, it represents a limited portion of her wide repertoire. The first disc is all German Romantic works, beginning with scenes from Wagner that she recorded in the late '80s with the London Philharmonic and Klaus Tennstedt. The first of these are for Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, the role in which she made her opera debut in 1969, followed by one from Tristan und Isolde. These scenes are followed by Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, a few Schubert Lieder, and an excerpt from Brahms' Deutsche Requiem. The Lieder, and most of the songs on the second disc as well, are with pianist Irwin Gage and are from very early in her professional career. There are a couple of small spots in the Schubert where she seems not entirely comfortable with these works yet and has some trouble getting the right sound for them. She is otherwise impressive for her sound, range, understanding of the text and context of each work, and confidence; and yet she sounds still more comfortable in the French repertoire, found on the second disc. There are selections from Offenbach, an excerpt from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and songs by Ravel and Poulenc. The lighthearted nature of the Offenbach, plus the fact that the scenes involve other singers as well (unlike the Wagner), lets her loosen up a little; the action and emotion of each scene don't depend on her alone. The ease with which she interprets the Poulenc cycle La fraîcheur et le feu is perhaps attributable to her studies with Pierre Bernac, for whom Poulenc wrote most of his songs. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | Orfeo

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Classical - Released October 6, 1992 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 18, 2002 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1991 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1979 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1981 | Decca Music Group Ltd.