WAGNER: Dich teure Halle / Allmächtge jungfrau! from Tannhäuser. STRAUSS:
Es gibt ein Reich from Ariadne auf Naxos Vier Lieder, Op. 27. Wiegenlied,
Op. 4 No. 1. Malven. Vier Letzte Lieder.
SCHUMANN: Frauenleibe und-leben, Op. 42. MAHLER: Rückert-Lieder
Young Danish soprano Lise Davidsen's career is off to an auspicious start. She sings Elisabeth in Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival, and also has appeared with the Zurich Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and at the Edinburgh International Festival. This is her first recording, music of Richard Struss accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra direted by Essa Pekka-Salonen. First we hear arias from Tannhäuser and Ariadne Auf Naxos. Then lieder, from from Op. 27 (Ruhe, meine Seele! Cäcille, Heimliche Aufforderung , and Morgen!), Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No 1, and Malvern (which some consiuder to be part of Vier Letzte Lieder). The disk then ends with the well-known Four Last Songs. Davidsens surely is impressive. Her powerful voie has no problem whatever with the high register. Her voice often has a tendency to be harsh. This is partciularly noticeable in the Four Last Songs. Sensitivity and vocal beauty usually heard in this music are not to be found here. Salonen and the excellent orchestra offer sterling sensitive support throughout. I find this an often impressive but overall disappointing recording by a young singer who still has much to learn about the art of singing. For a perfect performance of Vier Letze Lieder, check the video with Anja Harteros (REVIEW). And, of course, there are other outstanding versions by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Renée Fleming, Gundula Janowitz and Soile Isokowski, to mention only a few, all quite superior to the new Davidsen version. You can see Lise Davidsen performing Strauss on You Tube. She sounds better there than she does on this new reording
Beauty of sound surely is to be found on Renée Fleming's latest disk that features 16 lieder of Brahms and Schumann with accompaniment by pianist Hartmut Höll. Then we have the gem of this collection, Mahler's Rückert Lieder in which Fleming is given perfect accompaniment from the Munich Philharmonic directed by Christian Thielemann. These are exquisite indeed. With the exception of the Angelic solo in Mahler's Symphony No. 4, this is Fleming's first Mahler recording with orchestra. Complete texts and translations are provided. A fine, important issue.
R.E.B. (July 2019)