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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Brahms 8 Lieder Op. 57 & Schumann Frauenliebe und -leben

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Julius Drake
  • Composer: Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (November 11, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Wigmore Hall Live
  • ASIN: B001H5GK7E
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,572 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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In the generation of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, only Jessye Norman and Thomas Hampson among other Americans could claim to be masterful in singing German lieder, and in many ways she leaves them far behind -- neither was as natural as she is, as unaffected in their approach. Hunt Lieberson had a God-given voice allied with innate musicality and the ability to touch audeinces directly in the heart. For want of a better comparison, she was our Kathleen Ferrer.

The singer exhibits every facet of her art in this live recital from London's Wigmore Hall (their house label released an earlier CD that's equally great), the highlight being Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben. This account can stand with the very best. But the eight Brahms songs of Op. 57, none of them well known, that begin the recital are also a miracle. Listening to Hunt Lieberson's passionate, emotionally spontaneous readings, you'd never guess that Brahms tends to be stodgy and earnestly Victorian as a lieder composer.

The sound from 1999 is better balanced than on the earlier recording, and Julius Drake provides sensitive accompaniments, rather on the polite side. The second encore is one of H-L's specialities, an aria from Handel's 'Theodora,' to remind us that her untimely death deprived us of a great opera singer as well.

Here's the complete program:

8 Lieder und Gesange op.57 : Von waldbekranzter Hohe / Wenn du nur zuweilen lachelst / Es traumte mir / Ach wende diesen Blick / In meiner Nachte Sehnen / Strahlt zuweilen auch ein mildes Licht / Die Schnur die Perl' an Perle / Unbewegte laue Luft (Brahms). 4 songs from Lieder und Gesange aus Wilhelm Meister op.98a : Kennst du das Land / Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt / Heiss mich nicht reden / So lasst mich scheinen (Schumann).
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With the second "new" Lorraine Hunt Liberson recording to be released in the past few months, those of us who still lament her too-soon departure have a blessed surprise in this second Wigmore Hall live recording, of 1999. (The other 2008 release is the marvelous Lorraine at Emmanuel album of Bach and Handel, celebrating both Lorraine and Director Craig Smith.)

A great wish of mine, to have Lorraine singing Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben, has now been realized. Her interpretations, as usual, span the emotional spectrum and dynamic range, and reach into the soul.

What else is hiding in the vaults of recording companies? How about the Wesendonck Lieder? Mahler's Das Lied? The Strauss Four Last Songs? Did she ever sing Brahms' Alto Rhapsody? And I'm still waiting for the Met to release a DVD of her Dido in Berlioz's The Trojans. . . since my wishes have been fruitful of late, I'll wish on!
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What a voice! I am so grateful to have this. Keep the live recordings coming! Her death so young was tragic, but these recording are a joy.
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Magnificent singing by a very great artist. Especially wonderful is the final encore, "Angels, ever bright and fair" from Handel's Theodora
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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Brahms 8 Lieder Op. 57 & Schumann Frauenliebe und -leben
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