Monday, 15 August 2005

Four Last Songs: Jesse Norman

Not a piece of visual art tonight, but instead an aural wonder. Norman's rich, warm voice caresses Richard Strauss's songs of wistful longing, and (if you get the CD version) makes a wonder of Wagner's aching love songs. Sheer, unabashed beauty.

3 comments:

  1. PC, I agree with you - Norman's recording of the Four Last Songs is the only one I'd consider fit to sit beside Elizabeth Schwarzkopf's 1965 set with George Szell. (I know many musical purists would debate the call with me, but both women can break my heart and make me beg for more.)

    Gundula Janowitz's singing on her recording with the Berlin Philharmonic under von Karajan (Cat: #47422) is glorious, but this is another von Karajan recording where it's all about the conductor's ego rather than the music. Damn it.

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  2. PC, I agree with you - Norman's recording of the Four Last Songs is the only one I'd consider fit to sit beside Elizabeth Schwarzkopf's 1965 set with George Szell. (I know many musical purists would debate the call with me, but both women can break my heart and make me beg for more.)

    Gundula Janowitz's singing on her recording with the Berlin Philharmonic under von Karajan (Cat: #47422) is glorious, but this is another von Karajan recording where it's all about the conductor's ego rather than the music. Damn it.

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  3. Craig, you've been reading my mail. Until I heard the Norman recording, Schwarzkopf's was my far and away favourite. I didn't think it could be touched for beauty ... until I heard Norman's.

    I haven't heard Gundula Janowitz's, but I was struck by her sparkling Sieglinde in Karajan's 'Walkure,' the only place I've heard here. What a beautiful tone! She more than makes up for Karajan's indiscretions, and I've been meaning to track down more of her work. I might start with Cat: #47422. Thanks. :-)

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