A loving tribute to French Song, by one of the greatest voices. With exceptional sensibility and understanding of the French language, the renowned Swedish singer pays a loving homage to French melody and song. Known for her artistic journeys which transcend the borders of musical genre, Anne Sofie von Otter’s collaborations include those with Elvis Costello and Brad Mehldau, with whom she recorded her ‘Love Songs’ album on Naïve.
A new disc from Anne Sofie von Otter always arouses eager expectation, whatever the repertoire. None of the composers featured on this recording of Lieder and Mélodies is regarded primarily for his songwriting prowess, yet von Otter conjures winner after winner. Even at their lightest, these pieces never fail to charm, and some of them do a good deal more than that. As one would expect from such an experienced lieder artist, the program is beautifully constructed, with songs carefully placed for maximal variety, not just of tone but also of instrumentation (excellent playing from clarinetist Eric Hoeprich and violinist Nils-Erik Sparf). This is another winner from von Otter and friends.
Ombre de mon amant is Anne Sofie von Otter's first recording of these French Baroque Arias–graceful, temperamental tunes which will delight her fans and thrill Baroque music cognoscenti. Von Otter's mastery of diverse musical genres, crystalline diction and exquisite musicality empower her interpretations of French repertoire. Her celebrated Offenbach album and album of rarities by Chaminade are previous examples of her success in the French repertory. Every bit a woman of the theater as she is of song, von Otter embodies Charpentier's Médée and Rameau's Phèdre in Hippolyte et Aricie in the grand manner in which they were surely performed originally. Von Otter is partnered by William Christie and his matchless ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, who bring exuberant energy and theatrical flair to every track.
The performance of von Otter and Gardiner on this CD encompasses both approaches without compromising the ideals of either. It is a magnificent achievement. Do you like Mahler? Especially the Mahler of Das Lied von der Erde, the slow movement of the fourth symphony, the adagietto from the fifth symphony, the finale of the ninth? Buy this disk.
"This is Anne Sofie von Otter at her most hallowed, and Quasthoff is as quietly witty in the fables as he is harrowing in the military doom-songs. Unsurpassable…" ~BBC Music Mag
It would be hard to find an opera in any area of the repertory that presents so many textual problems as Les conies d'Holfmann, largely stemming from the fact that the composer died four months before the premiere early in 1881, leaving the score incomplete. The traditional text, bringing in extra material, much of it unauthentic, and leaving out a lot, was only established this century. Arthur Hammond with the Carl Rosa Company was a pioneer in attempting to sort out a more acceptable text, and his work formed the basis of the English National Opera production at the Coliseum and also the Richard Bonynge recording for Decca. Since then the discovery of no less than 1,250 autograph pages allowed Fritz Oeser to produce his monumental edition, as used extensively in the Cambreling recording for EMI (12/88 —nla)…
The epic grandeur of Der Rosenkavalier stems not just from its immense length (over three hours) but from the all-too-human complexity of its characters–each of whom is smitten with someone else–and the endless stream of graceful melodies the composer conjures. After the tonality-stretching dissonance of Salome and especially Elektra, Strauss moved onto a different musical path here: the music's sheer gorgeousness has given this most heartbreaking of 20th-century operas its pride of place in the repertory.