Recently in Recordings
In May 2016, Opera Rara gave Bellini aficionados a treat when they gave a concert performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, at the Barbican Hall. The preceding week had been spent in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, and this recording, released last month, is a very welcome addition to Opera Rara’s bel canto catalogue.
Jonas Kaufmann Mahler Das Lied von der Erde is utterly unique but also works surprisingly well as a musical experience. This won't appeal to superficial listeners, but will reward those who take Mahler seriously enough to value the challenge of new perspectives.
A new recording, made late last year, Morfydd Owen : Portrait of a Lost Icon, from Tŷ Cerdd, specialists in Welsh music, reveals Owen as one of the more distinctive voices in British music of her era : a grand claim but not without foundation. To this day, Owen's tally of prizes awarded by the Royal Academy of Music remains unrivalled.
The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.
Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.
‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.
Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s ﬁfteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.
New from Oehms Classics, Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 1. Luxury singers - Valentina Farcas, Klaus Florian Vogt and Michael Volle, with the Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.
Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the
Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement
violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his
ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.
Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara -
Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.
It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered
and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has
happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by
Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.
This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.
This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the
most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100
songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable
artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan
Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles”
This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa
Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The
Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s
Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical
Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their
40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two
settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.
Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according
to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.
Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au
bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc
Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.
Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.
As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.
16 Oct 2007
“Dein ist mein ganzes Herz”
Okay, okay, I freely admit this up front: I am not inordinately fond of operetta. Just thought you should know. All the more remarkable then that I found myself listening to this new recording several times over.
Or perhaps not remarkable at all when you take into account the
considerable talents of Angelika Kirchschlager and Simon Keenlyside. Fans of
this pair (count me in) and/or operetta should revel in their fine renditions
of predictable standards along with some delectable excerpts that are less
performed. Strauss, Lehar, von Suppe,and Kalman are all well represented, of
course, alongside a pair of jewels from works by Milloecker and Stolz.
The recital kicks off with the duet “Weisst Du Es Noch” (“Die
Csardasfuerstin”) that alternates playful patter with a lushly expansive
and deeply felt “haunting refrain.” The duo establishes their impeccable
credentials at once, displaying sound technique, naturally beautiful
instruments, clear diction, compatible partnering, and complete command of
the material and style. It is doubtful that either artist has performed all,
or perhaps any of these roles in a staged production, yet each seems immersed
in the material, conferring each selection with an appropriate
The many waltz numbers do tend to have a certain (albeit lovely) aural
sameness to them, but that is not the fault of the artists. Still, von
Suppe’s 3/4-time “Mia Bella Fiorentina” (“Boccaccio”) offers some
diversity of mood, not to mention language. And both singers show imagination
and seriousness of purpose in quite successfully creating a fresh take on
My personal pick of the mezzo’s offerings would have to be the hushed
pleasure she lavishes on “Hab’ Ich Nur Deine Liebe” (“Boccaccio”
again). The underlying tango rhythms of the aria from Kalman’s “The
Violet of Montmartre” (oh, that again!) buoy the baritone to perhaps his
best and most nuanced reading in the collection.
Did the world really need another traversal of “Ich Lade Gern Mir Gaeste
Ein” (“Chacun a Son Gout”), “Viljalied,” or “Meine Lippen Die
Kuessen So Heiss”? Perhaps not. But Ms. Kirchschlager is idiomatic and
persuasive on them, and the first does serve to bring a needed bit of cheeky
variation in the material. If the “Vilja” does not have quite the freedom
and panache in the upper reaches that some lyrico-spinto sopranos have
brought to it, and if “Meine Lippen. . .” does not have the hedonistic
abandon that Anna Netrebko brought to it recently in Baden-Baden, they are
nonetheless beautifully voiced.
Among his other always enjoyable arias, the baritone charms us with a
delightfully sly “Da Geh’ Ich Zu Maxim” (“Die Lustige Witwe”)
marked as much by virile full-throated phrases as it is by playful, hushed,
and coy asides. The CD’s titular “Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz” finds
Keenlyside (standing in for the usual tenor) in rapturous command of all the
schmaltz, crooning, and tonal outpouring needed for maximum effect in
bringing the whole affair to a thrilling close.
The Tonkuenstler-Orchester Noe under the secure leadership of Alfred
Eschwe is an able partner in these highly enjoyable, and eminently listenable
results offering pliable phrasing, nice solo work, and solid rhythmic pulse
Operetta. Like it or not, you probably just aren’t ever going to hear
these tunes better sung. Maybe that is why “The Merry Widow” waltz is now
stuck in my head? Hell, I may just play the whole thing yet again and rejoice
in the guilty pleasure that two outstanding artists have perpetrated a highly