Admirers of Margaret Price know exactly what to expect from the Welsh soprano who died earlier this year; one of the loveliest soprano voices of our time supported, literally, by flawless technique, innate musicality, taste and intelligence. Well, it's all here in these recordings, splendidly accompanied by Wolfgang Sawallisch (Strauss) and James Lockhart (Liszt). Those wishing to get to know the soprano's work could scarcely do better than this mid-price reissue.
The Strauss recital was recorded in 1987 when Price was 46, in her vocal prime and sounding much younger. In later years there was a touch more grandeur in Price's approach, but here she is eagerly responsive to the text and the contrasting emotions of the songs while avoiding the sentimentality that can so easily diminish Strauss's writing.
The Liszt songs date from a 1974 Classics for Pleasure album and show that, in addition to her vocal prowess she was already a compelling storyteller, responsive to text and nuance. In short, the complete Lieder singer. Price sounds even younger than her 33 years. The rising phrase at the end of "Die Lorelei" is perfection.
Considering the very reasonable price of this marvellous collection it's a pity that EMI,
having included texts, provide only a French translation, but don't let anything put you Margaret Price's sublime performances.