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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and radiant singing throughout, 4 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Strauss: Four Last Songs - Final Scenes from Capriccio & Salome (Audio CD)
I am highly enthusiastic about this disc. Most listeners will have their own favourites among singers for Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and it will be difficult to shift strong loyalties away from, say, Jessye Norman, Renee Fleming, Lisa della Casa or Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, but Nina Stemme, a Swedish dramatic soprano, currently singing the title role in "Ariadne auf Naxos" at the Met, offers powerful yet radiant performances of all three Strauss pieces on this disc, most especially of the "Four Last Songs".

It has become traditional for the "Four Last Songs" to be given to voices of a creamy and particularly lyrical character, and for the orchestral accompaniment to be made atmospheric and etherial to underline the sentiments of the poetry of Eichendorff and Hesse. But the first singer of the piece at its premiere under Furtwangler was Kirsten Flagstad, a powerfully dramatic soprano, later to be renowned for her singing of Isolde. Likewise, Nina Stemme, who has sung that role to great acclaim. Stemme's young and strongly-projected singing, supported by Antonio Pappano's taut direction of the orchestra, link this late masterpiece of Strauss explicitly to the work of his entire composing career in a highly satisfying manner.

The other pieces on the disc are tailor-made for this singer. Highly recommended.
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