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Anne Sofie von Otter: Rendezvous with Korngold: Songs & Chamber Music

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The slithering idiom of early-20th-century Vienna dominates but never consumes Korngold's fluent lyricism, from the ingenuous Suite for Piano Left Hand and Strings to his gorgeous lieder. Anne Sofie von Otter cuddles her ravishing voice around the sublime "Songs of Parting," while longtime accompanist Bengt Forsberg shadows her every nuance. Her supple and pointed diction in the Shakespeare songs is an object lesson in how to sing perfect English, and this from a non-native singer. In the aforementioned Suite, Forsberg and friends don't match the tight-knit ensemble, glitchless intonation, and virtuosic profile that distinguishes Leon Fleisher's powerful version on Sony. They pick and jab at the fragmented yearnings of the Piano Quintet op. 15 yet never get Korngold's lopsided mountain to move. But you'll always return to the songs, for which texts and translations are included. --Jed Distler

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Four Songs Of Parting Op. 14: 1. Sterbelied - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  2. Four Songs Of Parting Op. 14: 2. Dies eine kann mein Sehnen nimmer fassen - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  3. Four Songs Of Parting Op. 14: 3. Mond, so gehst du wieder auf - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  4. Four Songs Of Parting Op. 14: 4. Gefasster Abschied - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  5. Quintet For 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello And Piano In E Major: 1. Massiges Zeitmass, mit schwungcoll bluhendem Ausdruck - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  6. Quintet For 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello And Piano In E Major: 2. Adagio. Mit grosster Ruhe, stets ausserst gebunden und ausdrucksvoll - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  7. Quintet For 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello And Piano In E Major: 3. Finale. Gemessen, beinahe pathetisch - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  8. Songs Of the Clown Op. 29: 1. Come Away, Death - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  9. Songs Of the Clown Op. 29: 2. O Mistress Mine - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  10. Songs Of the Clown Op. 29: 3. Adieu, Good Man Devil - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  11. Songs Of the Clown Op. 29: 4. Hey Robin - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  12. Songs Of the Clown Op. 29: 5. For the Rain, It Raineth Every Day - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  13. Simple Songs Without Op. No.:: Nachts - Anne Sofie Von Otter
  14. Simple Songs Without Op. No.:: Die Geniale - Anne Sofie Von Otter

Disc: 2

  1. Four Shakespear Songs Op. 31: 1. Desdemonas Song - E.W. Korngold
  2. Four Shakespear Songs Op. 31: 2. Under the Greenwood Tree - E.W. Korngold
  3. 3. Four Shakespear Songs Op. 31: Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind - E.W. Korngold
  4. Four Shakespear Songs Op. 31: 4. When Birds Do Sing - E.W. Korngold
  5. Three Songs: 1. Was Du mir bist? - E.W. Korngold
  6. Three Songs: 2. Mit Dir zu Schweigen - E.W. Korngold
  7. Three Songs: 3. Welt ist stille eingeschlafen - E.W. Korngold
  8. Suite For 2 Violins, Violincello and Piano (left hand): 1. Praludium und Fuge - E.W. Korngold
  9. Suite For 2 Violins: 2. Walzer - E.W. Korngold
  10. Suite For 2 Violins: 3. Groteske - E.W. Korngold
  11. Suite For 2 Violins: 4. Lied - E.W. Korngold
  12. Suite For 2 Violins: 5. Rondo - Finale (Variotionen) - E.W. Korngold
  13. Mariettas Lied: Mariettas Lied Op. 12 - E.W. Korngold


Product Details

  • Performer: Anne Sofie von Otter, Bengt Forsberg, Mats Lidstrom, Kjell Lysell, Ulf Forsberg
  • Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00000HY3U
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,698 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on July 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Listening to the songs (which are the chief attraction of this set) it's difficult to understand why Korngold is not more well known than he is, at least for his "serious" works (i.e. not film scores). As beautifully executed by Anne Sofie von Otter, it should be apparent that his songs are worthy to be ranked with those of Schubert and Strauss and should be performed and recorded as often. Of the German songs "Sterbelied" ("Requiem") and "Mond, so gehst du wieder auf" ("Moon, thus do you rise again") from Op. 14 and "Was du mir bist?" ("What are you to me?") from Op. 24 are the most beautiful, in my opinion. It's no wonder that Korngold reused their melodies in the chamber works included. The Op. 14 songs come off better in their purely instrumental guise than does "Was du mir bist?" which, compared to the perfection of its vocal form, is little more than a barely adequate transcription as the fourth movement of the Suite, Op. 23. Of the English songs, "Desdemona's Song" from Op. 31 is memorable for it haunting quality and heartbreaking simplicity.
While I would agree that the recording of the Suite, Op. 23, is better handled by Fleisher et al. on Sony (I have no comparison for the Quintet, Op. 15), in one respect I prefer this recording. In my opinion, the third movement "Groteske" requires a kind of wildness that this recording contains (perhaps inadvertently) while on Sony the playing is almost too controlled and thus sounds relatively restrained.
The chamber arrangement of "Mariettas Lied" from "Die tote Stadt" is an interesting curiosity and while once again the singing is exquisite, without its lush orchestral colour the music is missing something. Charming but a bit thin.
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Format: Audio CD
Perhaps the best introduction yet to the unique sound world of the great Erich Korngold, this varied, entirely enjoyable set will be loved by afficianados and newcomers alike. Don't miss it.
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