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Lieder (German) - Released July 12, 2019 | Decca

Presented on CD for the first time and newly remastered, a pair of Romantic Lieder recitals by the Welsh contralto who inherited the mantle of Kathleen Ferrier.The history of British contraltos on record, stretches back to Constance Shacklock and before her Dame Clara Butt but it was Ferrier who defined the sound of that voice type for millions of listeners around the world. Produced as if from a great distance, noble and yet communicating the most profound and immediate of emotions, the possessors of a true contralto voice inspired Handel, Elgar and others to compose some of their most heartfelt arias. It was with the music of Handel that the Welsh contralto, Helen Watts, made her debut on record: in performances of ‘Semele’ and ‘Sosarme’ recorded by L’Oiseau-Lyre, released in 1955 and reissued by Eloquence. Along with Alfred Deller and William Herbert, Watts counts among those British singers discovered by the founder of L’Oiseau-Lyre, Louise Hanson Dyer, in her search the young and talented musicians who could breathe new life into old and mostly unfamiliar music. Her career burgeoned, on disc and especially on the concert platform where she became the alto soloist of choice for countless performances of ‘Messiah’ and ‘The Dream of Gerontius’. Watts was also an accomplished recitalist and her gifts in this area have often been overlooked. This release compiles the first two song recitals she recorded, in 1963 and 1964. In the world of Schumann’s ‘Frauenliebe und -Leben’ she enters intimately into each song’s shades of feeling and she brings a special passion to the three Mignon songs of Hugo Wolf. The earlier recital, couples more Schumann – notably the late and haunted ‘Five Songs of Mary Stuart’ – with favourite Lieder of Brahms such as ‘Ständchen’ and the Op. 91 pair with obbligato viola (Cecil Aronowitz). The anthology is completed with more Brahms, the Alto Rhapsody she recorded in Geneva with Ernest Ansermet in 1965: solemn, yet warm and deeply human, a perfect testament to her art and to the praise of her modern counterpart, Nathalie Stutzmann: ‘an extraordinary contralto’. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Lieder (German) - Released May 31, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Qobuzissime
Born in a small Norwegian village in 1987 (and is thus inevitably compared to her long-time compatriot Kirsten Flagstad), soprano Lise Davidsen was almost built to embody Wagnerian and Straussian heroines. For her first record under the label Decca, with whom she has signed an exclusive contract, she has chosen to present several facets of femininity in the vocal stylings of Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Ariane (Ariane à Naxos) and… Pauline. Pauline being Richard Strauss’ beloved wife to whom he dedicated many Lieder from his opus 27 - the 1894 cycle offered to his wife as a wedding gift - until the last Vier letzte Lieder in 1948.Under the supple baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonic Orchestra embraces the brassy voice of the Norwegian soprano with finesse and elegance. As you will see, this record, with its carefully devised programme, oscillates between youth and old age, in the presence of ghosts and death. You may wonder how one can express mortality at just 30 years old with such a powerful timbre, radiant health and a whole life ahead of you. The answer lies in Lise Davidsen’s voice, which upsurges as if it were a promise of immortality, the music of the last Strauss piece returning one last time to its past, to a Europe in ruins.Discovered in 1984, after the death of the singer and dedicatee Maria Jeritza, Malven (“The Mallows") is Richard Strauss’ true “last song”. Lighter in tone than the Vier letzte Lieder to which it might have belonged, it is presented here in an orchestration by Wolfgang Rihm. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released April 26, 2019 | Alpha Classics

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Julian Prégardien decided to record the Dichterliebe cycle after he came across the new Bärenreiter edition; he went on to explore the work in concerts with his constant accompanist, Eric Le Sage, inserting other works by Robert and also by Clara Schumann, whose bicentenary is celebrated in 2019. When Clara played the Dichterliebe in the 1860s, she used to slip extracts from Kreisleriana between the songs. Prégardien asked Eric Le Sage to record the same extracts on a Blüthner piano of 1856, the year of Robert’s death, and also to include Romances composed by both Robert and Clara at a time when their future marriage was still uncertain. The sublime ballade Löwenbraut also forms part of the programme – a reminder of the young Robert’s anguish on Clara’s departure. At Julien’s suggestion, Sandrine Piau was invited to sing three duets: a simple Canon composed by Clara, and two duets by Robert, Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär, and the sublime In der Nacht. Four further songs complete the recording: Sängers Trost, a short piece in belcanto style; Kurzes Erwachen, composed by Robert at the age of just eighteen; Aus den hebräischen Gesängen, a very melancholy song; an extract from the cycle Myrthen (Robert’s wedding present to Clara); and Mein Wagen rollet langsam, a song that was included in the composer’s first version of Dichterliebe. The Dichterliebe songs micht have been expected to show Schumann triumphantly rejoicing in that year of 1840 when he was finally able to marry Clara; and yet they are characterised by bitter irony, nostalgic Sehnsucht, and a sense of dread… © Alpha Classics
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Lieder (German) - Released January 11, 2019 | Warner Classics

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By turns ecstatic and deeply depressed, as is the way with bipolar disorders, Hugo Wolf gave the world great and precious masterpieces in the genre of the lied with his great cycles, in particular Italienisches Liederbuch, for two voices, which represents the soul of the art. 46 lieder speak of love, focusing on the tangled feelings of man and woman across lovers' dialogues in ironic, gallant and impassioned tones. Written around words by Paul Heyse based on anonymous Tuscan poems, this collection is full of ballads, and in particular rispetti (compliments), folksy poems made up of two quatrains. The German translation seriously disfigures the light touch of the Italian original, especially as Hugo Wolf makes no attempt to "do Italian" in his compositions. “I assure you: a warm heart beats in the little chests of my youngest southern children, who, despite everything, cannot hide their German origins. Yes, their hearts beat in German, even though the sun shines in Italian", he told a friend. This Italian collection is made up of, as Stéphanie Goldet writes, "little love stories, moments of impatience or frustration, wishes and warnings, complaints and recriminations, demands and unconditional surrenders". Recorded in concert at the Hesse Philharmonic on 18 February 2018, this new recording ranks alongside other legendary records such as those by Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Dieskau; it will surely become a new reference point version. While it was reasonable to worry about Jonas Kaufmann's voice, we can hear that it has recovered all its strength and its thousand and one miraculous nuances. His partner, Diana Damrau, is radiant, with a song that brings together the many different emotions of a worried and sometimes mischievous young girl. But this dialogue would be nothing without the subtle and refined piano-playing of Helmut Deutsch, who has given these miniatures such an irresistible accompaniment. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released January 11, 2019 | Naxos

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Lieder (German) - Released November 16, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month
Very different from Schubert’s Lieder, which are chants according to German “popular” tradition (usually strophic) with a musical accompaniment subservient to the singing (taking nothing away from their incredible genius!), Schumann’s are, to use Christian Gerhaher’s words, “lyrical dramaturgy”; miniature operas in which the piano and vocals are equal in content. This doesn’t explain why Schumann’s Lieder are so rarely performed in concert, with the exception of some well-worn cycles (normally Myrten, Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe und –leben). Gerhaher and his pianist Gerold Huber pick works from the genre’s ample repertoire that have almost never been performed in concert. Only three cycles date back to the “Liederyear” of 1840 (incidentally the year of his marriage to Clara Wieck), while the others are from the composer’s last years, beyond 1850, and are full of nostalgia… This is far from the dishevelled romanticism of his early years, the mood is dark and the discourse broken up into small brushstrokes. The contrast from one era to the other is striking. Gerhaher and Huber perform these surprising marvels brilliantly. © SM/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released November 9, 2018 | Orfeo

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Lieder (German) - Released November 2, 2018 | Solo Musica

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Lieder (German) - Released October 19, 2018 | Orfeo

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Finally, a happy record! It’s a simple recipe: take four experienced singers who know each other well, add two complicit pianists, then pick out some works that are bursting with happiness. It’s rare to find such happiness in Schumann and Brahms’ work. The two composers shared a tendency to lean towards melancholic music, a "Sehnsucht" style which is so characteristic of German romanticism. Schumann wrote Spanisches Liederspiel Op. 74 in 1849. It’s a kind of love story, the first steps towards happiness. The work requires a theatrical and playful performance, which was perfectly accomplished here at this concert from the end of the 1974 Salzburg Festival, once the press had left the establishment. While there are few written traces that remain of this concert, the recording has preserved it for us. Here, Orfeo brings us this little miracle with four soloists at the top of their game, accompanied by two pianists who are well accustomed to the difficult task of supporting the singers. Shumann’s rare work is complemented by Brahms' famous eighteen vocal waltzes, given the collective title of Liebeslieder-Walzer Op. 52. An exceptional musical achievement. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Lieder (German) - Released October 5, 2018 | Challenge Classics

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Lieder (German) - Released October 5, 2018 | CPO

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Lieder (German) - Released September 21, 2018 | Supraphon a.s.

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Lieder (German) - Released September 14, 2018 | SWR Classic

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Lieder (German) - Released August 24, 2018 | Alpha Classics

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Soprano Barbara Hannigan has become something of a cult favorite with her deep dives into specific and unusual repertories. Her self-presentation in concert is unorthodox and marked by full-scale efforts to communicate the essence of the music at hand, in works ranging from Berio to Gershwin. So it is with this set of songs from the decade and a half on either side of 1900 in Vienna. The enjoyment begins with the physically passionate cover, an example of her way of personifying the music's spirit. Hannigan's is an utterly distinctive voice, edgy and coruscating, and she knows how to tone down her considerable virtuosic powers to the dimensions of the music, such as that here, intended for small rooms. She explores the early, tonal (although sometimes barely so) songs of Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, delivering insight into the controversial Richard Dehmel (attacked by the proto-fascist, German right wing) and other poets, with expertly sensitive accompaniment from her collaborator Reinbert de Leeuw. The program concludes with some familiar songs by Hugo Wolf, which in this context take on a somewhat mysterious cast. The greatest interest resides in the lesser-known material by Zemlinsky and especially by Alma Mahler, whose music is rarely recorded even in an age of rediscovery of female composers. She lost prime years to discouragement of her creativity by Gustav Mahler (who later changed his mind), and her output amounts to 14 songs from her lifetime plus two posthumously published. Nevertheless, the songs here are clearly cut from the same cloth as the others on the album, and they have a dramatic quality that seems to be characteristic to Mahler herself. Maybe they're more in line harmonically with the more conservative Zemlinsky (whom Mahler also dated), but sample Mahler's positively spooky setting of Dehmel's Die stille Stadt, which may be worth the price of admission by itself. Alpha's Netherlands Radio Muziekcentrum sound is nonpareil, and the whole project is deeply committed and highly recommended. © TiVo
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Lieder (German) - Released January 1, 2018 | Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm (MDG)

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Lieder (German) - Released January 12, 2018 | Solo Musica

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Lieder (German) - Released November 3, 2017 | Erato

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
“Nacht und Träume” takes its name from one of Schubert’s best-loved lieder, which is joined on the album by a further 10 of the composer’s songs. All performed in orchestral versions by such masters as Berlioz, Liszt, Brahms, Strauss, Webern, Britten and Schubert himself, they are complemented by three choral numbers and an orchestral interlude. The singers are rising stars – German mezzo-soprano Wiebke Lehmkuhl and French tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac – and Laurence Equilbey conducts two ensembles she founded: the Insula orchestra and the choir Accentus. © Warner Classics
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Lieder (German) - Released October 6, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
German baritone Christian Gerhaher and his accompanist/partner-in-creativity Gerold Huber have risen to the top of the heap in primary lied repertory, and it is easy to see why. In their second turn through Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, Gerhaher could simply have applied his golden baritone, and everybody would have been happy. Instead, he steps into character and conveys the unsettled psyche of the cycle's frustrated protagonist. He may gain strength at times, whereupon the famed Gerhaher sound comes through, but the cycle has a convincing dramatic arc that ends in unhappiness and weakness. Sample Trockne Blumen toward the end for the full range. Another Gerhaher innovation here is the inclusion of unset poems, recited by Gerhaher at the beginning, at the end, and along the way. This both breaks the tension and provides a more complex context to the whole sequence, and it's certainly something that one can imagine Schubert and his friends doing in their chambers. The booklet of the CD version has more on Schubert, Müller, and their orbit. A masterful, extremely satisfying remaking of some famous songs, and a Die schöne Müllerin that elevates the cycle to the level of Die Winterreise, D. 911. © TiVo
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Lieder (German) - Released March 31, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Lieder (German) - Released March 28, 2017 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

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