The selection and the order of works, the unhurried pace of the music, and the artistic excellence of the performances, provide a full hour of musical rapture.
The editorial review by Robert Levine on Amazon (USA) sums it up; further accolades are superfluous, except to mention that the program notes by Nick Jones are, as always with Telarc, worth the price of the album.
Wagnerites, rejoice! The stylish, wimpy sopranos after Birgit Nilsson need be endured no longer. Ms. Brewer has the pitch and the power to lift Wagner's notes from the score to the heavens. The lady knows her Isoldes from her Mimis!
The four Strauss songs are best rendered by a powerful voice, delicately applied. So many great sopranos have performed the works. Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Jessye Norman are the gold standards. Ms. Brewer is a worthy contender. To net: Schwarzkopf broods, Norman soars, and Brewer soars higher with superior recording technology. Schwarzkopf's "Im Abendrot" is poignant. Brewer's "Bein Schlafengehen" (the one with a beautiful little violin solo) is overarching.
The Telarc recording is technically perfect, perhaps a bit more. To one accustomed to the muddled sound of 20th century recordings, the sonic "presence" of the solo voice is startling: as though the listener is seated directly before Ms. Brewer, surrounded by the orchestra. Curiously, there is no extraneous noise whatsoever. Good riddance to all pops, crackles, and hisses, of course. But the 150 or so musicians and technicians at the recording sessions seem to exercise miraculous restraint: no one fidgets in his chair, turns a page of the score, or fusses with an instrument or device. Has art taken counsel with electronic wizardry at the mixing/editing console?