Recently in Recordings
The economics of the recording companies dictate much that is not ideal.
Wagner’s operas were not composed as they were in order to permit the
extraction of bleeding chunks, even on those occasions when strophic song forms
Among the recent recordings of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Valery Gergiev’s release on the LSO Live label is an excellent addition to the discography of this work.
While not unknown, the songs of Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942) deserve to be heard more frequently.
Recorded on 5 and 6 May 2008 and 17 and 18 January 2009 at the Lisztzentrum (Raiding, Austria), this recent Bridge release makes available the piano-vocal versions of three song cycles by Gustav Mahler, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert-Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder performed by mezzo-soprano Hermine Haselböck, accompanied by Russell Ryan.
Contraltos rarely achieve the acclaim and renown of sopranos. Assigned few leading roles in opera, they are condemned to playing the villain or the grandmother, or to stealing the castrati’s trousers in en travesti roles.
Following their 2011 Decca recording of Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts (1566), I Fagiolini continue their quest to unearth lost treasures of the High Renaissance and early Baroque, with this collection of world-premiere recordings, ‘reconstructions’ and ‘reconstitutions’ of music by Giovanni and Andrea Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Palestrina, and their less well-known compatriots Viadana, Barbarino and Soriano.
Eternal Echoes is an album of khazones [Jewish cantorial music] for cantorial soloist, solo violin and a blended instrumental ensemble comprising a small orchestra and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.
Michael Tilson Thomas’s recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony is an outstanding contribution to the composer’s discography.
Oliver Knussen burst into British music with an unprecedented flourish. In 1967, the London Symphony Orchestra premiered Knussen’s First Symphony, with István Kertész scheduled to conduct.
Based on performances given in Summer 2010 at the Lucerne Festival, this recording of Beethoven’s Fidelio is an admirable recording that captures the vitality of the work as conducted by Claudio Abbado.
Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872) was one of the most popular composers of his day in Poland, and of the many works he wrote for the stage, two are performed from time to time, Halka (1848) and Strazny dwór [The Haunted Manor] (1865).
The Polish alto Jadwiga Rappé is a familiar voice in various stage and concert works, and the recent release of a selection of songs by Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872) is an opportunity to hear her performing artsongs.
Originally released on multiple discs in 1981 this reissue on two CDs is a comprehensive collection of art songs by Italian and French composers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
An exciting contribution to the discography of this popular opera, the live performance of Richard Strauss’s Salome from the Festspielhaus at Baden-Baden is a compelling DVD.
Released in late 2011, Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD of the new staging of Berg’s Lulu at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona is an excellent contribution to the discography of this fascinating opera.
A recent release by the Metropolitan Opera, this two-disc set makes available on DVD the famous performance of Berg’s Lulu that was broadcast on 20 December 1980 as part of the PBS series “Live from the Met.”
The novels of Sinclair Lewis once shot across the American literary skies like comets, alarming and fascinating readers of that era, but their tails didn’t extend far behind them.
Once the province of only the most dedicated opera fanatics, mid-20th century recordings of privately taped live performances have become more widely available.
Flute players in opera orchestra around the world must look forward to the frequent appearances of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, knowing that while the stage spotlight in the mad scene will be on the soprano, the orchestral spotlight will be on their instrument.
Since his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1971, conductor James Levine has come to represent the house’s commitment to artistic excellence — reliable, professional, and immaculately presented.
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