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Love Songs Double CD

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Naive Sa
  • ASIN: B003ZZPKZW
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,855 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. It May Not Always Be So
  2. We Met At The End Of The Party
  3. Child, Child
  4. Twilight
  5. Because
  6. Dreams
  7. Did You Never Know?

Disc: 2

  1. Avec Le Temps (Léo Ferré)
  2. Pierre (Barbara)
  3. Marcie (Joni Mitchell)
  4. Something Good (Richard Rodgers)
  5. Chanson De Maxence from 'Les Demoiselles de Rochefort' (Michel Legrand)
  6. Chanson Des Vieux Amants (Jacques Brel)
  7. Sakta Vi Gå Genom Stan (Walking My Baby Back Home) (Fred Ahlert)
  8. Att Angöra En Brygga (Lars Farnlof)
  9. Dis, Quand Reviendras-Tu? (Barbara)
  10. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? (Michel Legrand)
  11. Calling You from 'Bagdad Café' (Bob Telson)
  12. Blackbird (Lennon & McCartney)
  13. Some Other Time from 'On the Town' (Leonard Bernstein)

Product Description

Product Description

This 2CD set is the first release since internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter signed an exclusive contract with Naïve. The music represents a major collaboration with one of the world’s greatest living jazz pianists and composers, Brad Mehldau. The first disc of “Love Songs” is devoted to a cycle by Brad Mehldau himself, whilst the second disc brings together music by some of the greatest songwriters of our time, including Leonard Bernstien, Richard Rogers, and Lennon and Mcartney. Anne Sofie von Otter is appearing in performances of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde at Birminham Symphony Hall and the Royal Festival Hall on the 23rd and 26th of September respectively.

BBC Review

Over the past two decades, pianist Brad Mehldau has been consistently inventive, notably with his own trio. His eclectic taste led him to perform compositions by Nick Drake and Radiohead alongside his own music. In contrast, Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is renowned for her operatic roles and performances of lieder. She has recorded with Elvis Costello and made an album of Abba covers, but has shown no previous inclination to sing jazz.

This pairing is not an immediately obvious one, initially looking like a project dreamed up by record company executives. It actually arose out of the pair’s mutual respect which led to Mehldau writing the song cycle Love Songs for her to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2009. Following that, they decided to record together.

Love Songs is an album of two very different discs. The first one contains an extended version of that song cycle, for which Mehldau set seven love poems to music, including five by lyrical poet Sara Teasdale plus one each from Philip Larkin and E. E. Cummings.

Von Otter’s performances emphasise vocal purity over the content of the verses, giving them a chilly beauty. She injects most emotion into the Teasdale poems Because and Did You Never Know?, and they are the better for it. Mehldau mainly acts as accompanist, with only the occasional piano break hinting at the scope of his talent.

For the second disc, the pair suggested favourite songs to each other, unsurprisingly coming up with a varied list of show tunes, chansons and popular songs that balance European and American material. The songs’ common denominators are their strong melodies and emotions. Von Otter sings them all expressively, making this disc warmer and more engaging than the first. She is noticeably more emotive on the songs sung in French, such as Jacques Brel’s Chanson des Vieux Amants. Mehldau gets more space to shine than on his song cycle.

Meetings of jazz and classical musicians run the risk of pleasing no-one. Love Songs strikes a balance that should appeal to fans of either musician – and to neutrals too.

--John Eyles

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Format: Audio CD
Love Songs is an interesting and varied collaboration between Brad Mehldau and Anne Sofie Von Otter, two artists you wouldn't automatically think had much in common. CD 1 contains a 7 song cycle written by Mehldau, and it all takes itself a bit too seriously to be honest. Von Otter does the best she can with the material and never sounds less than sublime, but Brad is all thundering chords and classical posturing, making it sound more like a Brahms lieder collection that anything else.

CD2 finds the pair working through 13 largely well-known songs from a range of masters of the craft, and it's a joy. A million miles from the laboured efforts of CD1, you can spot craftsmanship at work here, from the lyrics and melodies of these beautiful songs, through the accompaniment from Mehldau who proves more than up the task, and Von Otter's sumptious voice, which is absolutely stunning on some material here. Occasionally, a little bit of the ice-maiden in the voice just stops full engagement in the meaning of the songs, but overall it's wonderful stuff.

Two tracks alone make this worth the purchase price: Michel Legrand's What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life? and Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time". Mehldau and Von Otter bring their album to a close with this song, and it's poignant and lovely enough to bring the hairs up on the back of the neck, such is the intensity of emotional delivery.

Truthfully, I wasn't expecting much from this album, but CD2 alone lifts it to 5 star status. Simply beautiful music.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD primarily as a Brad Meldau and jazz fan. I also have many hundred classical CD's so am not immume to the attraction of that style either.

Anne Sophie Von Otter has a superbly controlled vocal range and a warm timbre but as is often the case when opera singers apply themselves to jazz or pop music there is very little emotion or soul on display in the way she sings here.

In trying to match styles here Brad Meldau (again technically superb) rather stilts his own improvisational style. He should have chosen a singer more used to this genre to make the most of this material.

I should give this double album a miss and spend your money on two CD's instead, one each of these seperate artists performing in their own fields where they are both superb. This CD is a waste of two great talents.

Reminder to self, do not buy jazz albums sung by professional opera singers again, never heard a good one yet.

John Cracknell
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fa7be10) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa819a8) out of 5 stars ELEGANTEMENTE HERMOSO 16 Dec. 2010
By Manuel Grosso Galvan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Esta vez tanto la Von Otter como Brad Meldahu han conseguido la perfeccion. Dos Cd para dos tipos diferentes de acercamiento musical a la belleza. En el primero nos encontramos a una Von Otter denrto de su registro de mezzo soprano, que como siempre esta magnifica. Lo curioso es que canta temas compuestos por Meldahu que demuestra una especial sensibilidad que nos remite a un clacicismosin estridencia muy cercana a los lieder post romentico. Sobrio y perfecto convierte esta experiencia en un autentico placer.
El segundo CD Esta compuesto por versiones de cancion francesa e incursiones a standars americano e incluso una version de los Beatles. Aqui Anne Sophie Von Otter esta simplemente genial. Su voz natural, la belleza de su fraseo, la intimidad del acompañamiento convierte este proyecto en una obra maestra. Si buscan un disco para reflexionar, para olvidarse de las vulgaridades mundanas, no lo duden, es este.Sera muy dificil encontrar ese tandem entre lo clasico, lo contemporaneo y la musica popular mas perfecto y elegante. Un triunfo sin paliativos y lo que es mas dificil desde la humildad mas interiorizada. Perfecto
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa81bf4) out of 5 stars AN ALBUM WHOSE WHOLE IS BETTER THAN ITS (QUITE GOOD) PARTS 6 Mar. 2011
By David Keymer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting album. It's not jazz and it's not NOT-jazz, more like a combination of art song and jazz-influenced piano. Otter has a lovely voice and Mehldau is, of course, a Bear on piano. The first disc is seven songs written by Mehldau to be performed in concert with Otter, using lyrics from the poets e. e. cummings, Philip Larkin and Sara Teasdale (five by Teasdale). This disc is impressive but it lies definitely on the art song side, like an update of Schubert lieder sung by a mezzo instead of a bari like Fischer-Deiskau or Bryn Terfel.

The second album is more varied and, to me, more immediately accessible. It starts with 'Avec le Temps,' the great love ballad by Leo Ferre'. A lighter song by a French chanteuse named Barbara follows and then Joni Mitchell's "Marcie," a song I probably wouldn't have liked if I were listening to Mitchell sing it but like it with Otter doing it. The best song on the album (well, co-best, along with "Avec le Temps") is Bob Telson's "Calling You" from the movie Baghdad Cafe. Otter does a good job on this though not as good as another version I have of the song, sung by the colossal soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson on her Lavinia recital album. (I don't know of any classical music singer who has the pipes to match Hunt Lieberson's.) Otter also sings the early 50s ballad, "Walking My Baby Back Home," but in Swedish! She seems to have lifted it from a recording by the Swedish jazz singer Monika Zetterlund. Mehldau plays straight on the French songs, freer on the American ones, giving them moire of a jazz feel.

I don't like all of the songs equally --I don't think Otter has the right kind of voice for Lennon and McCartney's "Blackbird" and she doesn't invest Jacques Brel's "Chanson des vieux amants" with the emotional urgency Brel did. But this is a killer album, with two super songs ("Avec" and "Calling") and several others that are impeccably done -the songs are written by Joni Mitchell, Barbara (two songs), Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Brel, Michel Legrand, Lennon and McC.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa81bb8) out of 5 stars Lovely... 15 Nov. 2010
By A Reader from - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
...but why couldn't they put all the music on one CD? I believe they could have gotten all of that music on there!

Setting questionable presentations aside, I happen to like the CD very much. As a collaborative effort, I find "Love Songs" w/Von Otter much more convincing and less "mannered" than the Mehldau/Fleming effort, IMHO. With each listen, I find myself becoming a fan of Mr. Mehldau with his precociously emotional approach to the piano. (Check out, for example, his solo on McCartney's Blackbird!)

My two cents.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa841b0) out of 5 stars nice album not your usual standard love songs... 10 Nov. 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I am glad that this album come out....it has nice love songs without it being the same old standards....like the fact that the songs are in English, French and German..the only song that I didn't feel worked was "Child, Child" its just a hot mess....not pleasent on the ear at all....One of my favorites is Marcie and Bagdad, calling you. Thank you for coming out with this work.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa843cc) out of 5 stars Dessa två hör inte ihop. 26 Feb. 2011
By Jon Appleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My prejudices first. Anne Sophie von Otter is the first operatic voice I ever enjoyed (her recording of Schumann's "Rose, Meer und Sonne." Brad Mehldau is the third jazz pianist whose work I admired (after Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson). But this recording was terribly disappointing. Mehldau is a surprising fine composer of songs. He is also a sensitive pianist as an accompanist. But von Otter's vocal style is so inappropriate for this genre and frankly, her vocal quality has markedly deteriorated (at least her upper range). So much as I admire these distinguished artists, I cannot recommend this CD.
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