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Strauss: Four Last Songs; Scenes from Arabella, Capriccio & Der Rosenkavalier - Anne Schwanewilms

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Strauss: Four Last Songs; Scenes from Arabella, Capriccio & Der Rosenkavalier - Anne Schwanewilms + Der Himmlische Leben - Anne Schwanewilms
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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 July 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Orfeo
  • ASIN: B0084MD3NW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,285 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Frühling
2. September
3. Beim Schlafengehen
4. Im Abendrot
5. Das War Sehr Gut, Mandryka
6. Morgen Mittag Um Elf!
7. Marie Theres'! ... Hab' Mir's Gelobt - Various Performers

Product Description

A setting of poems by Hermann Hesse and Joseph von Eichendorff, Richard Strauss s 'Four Last Songs' afford ultimate proof of Strauss s unique ability to write soaring melodic lines for the soprano voice. Many outstanding Strauss sopranos have faced up to the challenge and now Anne Schwanewilms joins them, ahead of her Proms performance on 17th July. She is one of the most sought-after Strauss sopranos of our day; a regular visitor to all the world s leading opera houses and festivals, from Salzburg Festival and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, to the Bavarian, Dresden and Vienna State Operas. She has also been heard in many of Strauss works at the Cologne Opera, most recently at a recital in 2011, when she was joined by the Gürzenich Orchestra under Cologne s general music director, Markus Stenz, which included excerpts from roles with which she is most closely associated. The valedictory tone of the songs contrasts with that of the final scene from 'Arabella,' in which Schwanewilms strikes just the right balance between the simplicity of the opening and the increasingly jubilant note on which the opera ends. In the final scene from 'Capriccio', this last-named quality is combined with the singer s ability to achieve the parlando style ideally demanded by Strauss. In the 'Rosenkavalier' trio her emotionally-charged singing captures the Marschallin s rejection in favour of a younger woman with an immediacy that is altogether overwhelming.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Entartete Musik on 18 July 2012
Format: Audio CD
Reports from Anne Schwanewilms's recent appearance at the BBC Proms have been far from encouraging. Marking passages, crooning and all-too-wayward intonation are just some of the criticisms that have been levelled. Reports speak of difficulties with her voice of late and sadly her latest disc on Orfeo in the same repertoire (here with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and Markus Stenz) offers little encouragement. For someone who has been so thrilling in Strauss, this is a beige affair.

Schwanewilms and Stenz approach the Vier letzte Lieder with determinedly brisk tempi, ultimately lapsing into something more slow and nostalgic. But that initial obstinacy - hardly a quality you'd associate with these autumnal songs - disrupts phrasing and undersells emotion. When the codas come, they appear over-milked, having been undermined by Stenz's consistently jolting changes of gear. Although a performance such as Jessye Norman's with the Gewandhausorchester and Kurt Masur may be too syrupy for some taste, it at least has consistency.

Throughout this new disc, Stenz creates an oddly abrasive string sound. And rather than the joyfully delayed downbeat of a more reflective Strauss - see Masur again - Stenz pushes on. That's fine in the heat of Salome or Elektra, but in these Strauss works it stymies bloom, lacks warmth and inspires a too forthright sound, not least from Schwanewilms. True, she can float at the top of her range and has remarkable graft at the lower end (not least in that gruelling 'Nacht' towards the end of 'Beim Schlafengehen'), but Soile Isokoski's otherworldly distance or the sheer voluptuousness of Norman or a Renée Fleming seem very distant memories.

So too are Schwanewilms's own performances in Strauss's operas.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mandryka on 25 July 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is Strauss singing of the highest order, especially the closing scene from CAPRICCIO. The CD has been sensationally reviewed by the German press where she has been called 'one of the great Strauss voices of the 21st century' and 'the unchallenged number one among Strauss divas today.' A must for any lover of Strauss.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A showcase for today's outstanding Strauss soprano 12 Aug 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Here's a ravishing Strauss program of the kind we haven't seen for awhile. Every generation brings forward a lyric soprano in the tradition of Schwarzkpf, Janowitz, Te Kanawa, and Fleming whose voice is so beautiful that they make the heart melt in Mozart and Strauss. Such voices are generally light and pure, almost instrumental. Anne Schwanewilms possesses a tone that isn't as flutey as Janowitz's; there is a penetrating quality like de los Angeles's (although she didn't sing much Mozart or Strauss), and that's a bit of a problem in this live eprformance from Cologne in Feb. 2011. The singer is placed too deep in the orchestra, and her loudest, highest notes turn shrill. A shame, because as Schwanewilms demonstrated in a set of Strauss orchestral songs with Mark elder and the Halle Orch., she can shape a long, floating Straussian line better than any rival on the scene. the distant placement also swallows up her words, and she's very good at delivering the texts, too.

This sonic drawback isn't enough to undermine the album, happily, and Marukus Stenz gets good, idiomatic playing from the venerable Gurzenich Orch. The Four Last Songs are performed with appealing sensitivity; Schwanewilms doesn't simply pour out beautiful tones. I think if I could hear her better, she'd come close to Schwarzkopf's first recording in mono under Ackermann. As it is, this is a performance to cherish. One could ask for a longer timing than 53 min. - why not more of the Marschallin from Tosenkavalier? The monologues from Arabella and Capriccio, plus an all too brief final trio from Rosenkavalier, are gorgeous. The whole CD is a tribute to a superb Strauss interpreter and makes me want more. Fortunately, there are online sites that deliver complete opera performances starring Schwanewilms, including all of Rosenkavalier.
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