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Four Last Songs


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Audio CD, May 8, 2007
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Salome: Ah, du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund Küssen lassen [to end of opera]Nina Stemme/Gerhard Siegel/Liora Grodnikaite/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano16:07Album Only
listen  2. Capriccio Op. 85, 13. Szene: MondscheinmusikOrchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano 3:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Capriccio Op. 85, 13. Szene: Morgen Mittag Um Elf! [To End Of Opera]Nina Stemme/Jeremy White/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano16:00Album Only
listen  4. Vier letzte Lieder AV150 (Op. posth): 1. Frühling (Hesse)Nina Stemme/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano 3:15$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Vier letzte Lieder AV150 (Op. posth): 2. September (Hesse)Nina Stemme/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano 4:48$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Vier letzte Lieder AV150 (Op. posth): 3. Beim Schlafengehen (Hesse)Nina Stemme/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano 5:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Vier letzte Lieder AV150 (Op. posth): 4. Im Abendrot (Eichendorff)Nina Stemme/Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano 7:35$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Biography

Currently Music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Antonio Pappano was born in London of Italian parents. At the age of 13 he moved with his family to the United States, where he continued his studies in piano, composition and conducting. Work as a repetiteur and assistant conductor rapidly led to his ... Read more in Amazon's Antonio Pappano Store

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Four Last Songs + Wagner: Die Walkure
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000MV93EG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,198 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

This gifted Swedish soprano, rapturously praised internationally in Wagner, is clearly eager to stake a claim in Strauss. She has the necessary vocal strength, wide range, fine musicianship, clear textual delivery, and flexibility. But listen to legendary benchmarks of Strauss singing (Ljuba Welitsch in the Salome scene, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf or Lisa della Casa in the other material on this disc) and you'll hear voices of pristine timbre and absolute steadiness, both of which Stemme lacks; her vibrato might be less intrusive in the theater, but on records it consistently puts her at a disadvantage, especially in Strauss. Even if the Salome finale offers a certainly amount of feverish excitement, throughout the program the singing generally wants variety of color. With the Capriccio Countess, the line-by-line specificity for this demanding characterization – above all, the lady's abundant charm – is conspicuously missing. Likewise, phrase after phrase of the Four Last Songs lacks profile, and here the vibrato prevents Stemme from achieving the serenity so crucial to this sublime music. EMI provides fine supporting singers (but why weren't the Capriccio Majordomo's opening lines included?) and a splendid Strauss orchestra, that of London’s Royal Opera House, elegantly led by music director Antonio Pappano. --Roger Pines

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By OperaOnline.us on July 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD
For her debut solo recital disc on the EMI label, dramatic soprano wunderkind chose to record Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs" along with the final scenes from "Salome" and "Cappricio." Hearing Ms. Stemme perform these is a revelation, and she demonstrates why no one else can do quite what she does. Her performance here is stellar, dramatic, and, perhaps, unmatched by any of her peers. Ms. Stemme is able to move from that bombastic and dramatic final scene from "Salome" to the pensive and stately final scene from "Cappricio" with ease. Moving from a vengeful teenage girl to a wiser, elegant Countess and then into the "Four Last Songs," she uncovers the dramatic tension of each piece with care, allowing each piece to build, as her rich, powerful soprano voice caresses each note. The booklet accompanying the CD includes an introductory essay on Richard Strauss and his music by Michael Tanner, song texts, and translations in German and French. Unfortunately, no artist biographies or notes from Ms. Stemme are included. Considering that these pieces have been recorded so often, this release is a welcome breath of fresh air. Nina Stemme's recording is a more than fine addition to the Strauss catalog that no lover of the soprano voices should be without. (RTS) This review appeared at OperaOnline.us
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Amazon seems to have hired a new reviewer, and for once I hear what he hears. As Mr. Pines points out, Stemme's voice has a prominent vibrato that probably helps it carry in the opera house but is intrusive on CD when she sings either loud or high. It's unusual to hear a dramatic soprano undertake these songs, even though Kirsten Flagstad debuted them with Furtwangler. For anyone who wants to hear a Deborah Voigt-style voice in the Four Last Songs, Stemme does well, and Pappano provides really superior accompaniment, in a class with Karajan and Szell.

Stemme's capacious voice makes more sense in the final scene from Salome, where Pappano again provides great accompaniment, as good as anyone could want in terms of vividness and excitement. My reaction is about the same as to the songs. I like Stemme's timbre, despite the vibrato (which, alas, will probably turn into a wobble fairly soon), and she makes Salome's yearning for Jokanaan poignant rather than crazed or sexually abandoned. There have been almost no voices recently that can encompass this taxing role, so congratualtions to Ms. Stemme, who dives in fearlessly, even if her achievement is only partial. In the end, it will be Pappano's contribution and EMI's excellent recorded sound that I will remember.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dag Kyndel on May 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Stemme makes a most dramatic, marvellous interpretation, one of the best I have ever heard, of the final scene of Salome. The sheer power in her voice points forward to Elektra and Brünnhilde. And the orchestra is in top form. The reason why I do not give this record five stars is to be found in the final scene from Capriccio. Stemme seems not quite to understand the depts of this role. The best recording ever made of this scene is done by Elisabeth Söderström, CBE - also on EMI.
It is wonderful to hear a "Hochdramatische" sing Vier letzte Lieder! Strauss obviously wanted this kind of voice, and here Stemme, I must confess, scores over Flagstad. Ms. Stemme has to attend to a small vibrato. But: Do not miss this record!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anna Shlimovich on September 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I listened to this recording mainly for two reasons - one is to hear another interpretation of incomparably beautiful Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) and second, for the singer herself - Nina Stemme, whom I have heard and seen in March in Ariadne auf Naxos in Wiener Staatsoper, where she brought the house down with a standing ovation - it was truly an amazing performance, with the production surprisingly the same as in the classic Gundula Janowitz/Edita Gruberova/Karl Bohm, from the same opera house; it seemed as the staging was re-used now, 40 years later after that historical performance immortalized on DVD:

R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos

Richard Strauss created Vier Letzte Lieder toward the end of his abundantly creative life, in 1948, after the war that ruined much of what he valued. The first of four songs was "Im Abendrot" (At Sunset), on a poem by Joseph vin Eichendorff, exploring a theme of a tiring promenade and achieving some ethereal point of exhaustion that could perhaps be death (in its typical German overly sentimental style it reminds of Winterreise mood). Strauss had not envisioned to make a song cycle with Im Abendorf, but shortly thereafter he came across some poems of Hermann Hesse, and in summer of 1948 he set three poems to music. Obviously he admired these poems, even though Hermann Hesse refused to reciprocate Strauss handshake offer because of the composer collaboration with the Third Reich elite.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicolaas Van Den Heever on May 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Words cannot describe the sheer beauty of this recording in brilliance of sound, spaciousness, magnificent playing of the orchestra, Pappano's conducting and above all, the voice and interpretation of Nina Stemme!

I was not that taken back some years ago with her recording of Isolde with Domingo, but this Strauss arias and songs have me speechless.

I own about every recording of the Strauss' Four Last Songs that appeared on disc - hard to find recordings and out of print ones like Nilsson, Harper, Sass, Jones - and the popular Fleming, Norman,Isokoski, Schwarzkopf, etc. I have listened to them all numerous times trying to choose for myself the definitive and ultimate...

One can contrast and compare Stemme's with the others, but it feels sacrilegious to highlight the shortcomings of other singers in a review of this sublime music. So lets just say that some singers recorded it too late in their careers, some had difficulties with interpretation, others were overindulgent, some relied too heavily on their big voices, and conductors where not always sympathetic towards the music and singers either.

Nina Stemme and Pappano come close to perfect with this recording! The sound of her tone is simply gorgeous, soaring... Her rendition of the final scene from Salome is unparalleled. She should definitely record the entire opera.

Norman, Schwarzkpof, Isokoski, Janowitz now have strong competition!

I no longer have the dilemma of deciding which of all my recordings of Strauss' Four Last Songs is my ultimate - in fact, I can probably only have one on my shelve now. Buy it, you will love it!
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