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Vier Letzte Lieder/12 Orcheste

Richard Strauss Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 38.90
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Product Details

1. Four Last Songs, Op. Posth.: Fruhling
2. Four Last Songs, Op. Posth.: September
3. Four Last Songs, Op. Posth.: Beim Schlafengehem
4. Four Last Songs, Op. Posth.: Im Abendrot
5. 12 Songs: Mutterandelei, Op. 43, No. 2
6. 12 Songs: Waldseligkeit, Op. 49, No. 1
7. 12 Songs: Zueignung, Op. 10, No. 1
8. 12 Songs: Freundliche Vision, Op. 48, No. 1
9. 12 Songs: Die Heiligen Drei Konige, Op. 56, No. 6
10. 12 Songs: Rube, Meine Seele, Op. 27, No. 1
11. 12 Songs: Meinem Kinde, Op. 37, No. 3
12. 12 Songs: Wiegenlied, Op. 41, No. 1
13. 12 Songs: Morgen, Op. 27, No. 4
14. 12 Songs: Das Bachlein, Op. 88, No. 1
15. 12 Songs: Die Rosenbande, Op. 36, No. 1
16. 12 Songs: Winterweihe, Op. 48, No. 4

Product Description


Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was one of those singers whom one either loves or hates. She was a "stylist," who inflected every phrase, every note in her urge to communicate what she considered to be the meaning of the text. Others feel that the only thing she communicated was her own need to impress people with her ability to communicate, and I believe she often forgot the difference between art and artfulness. Be that as it may, she was an outstanding Strauss singer, and her performance of the Four Last Songs, in particular, is legendary. Of course, having George Szell on the podium doesn't hurt either. He insures that the music shows the singer in the best possible light. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a classic? if so then a very mannered one... June 8 2004
By B.D.A
Format:Audio CD
what to write about this recording that hasn't been written already? it has been hyped as probably THE recording of the four last songs ever since its initial release ... an opinion i strongly disagree with. true, szell and his orchestra weave the most delicate textures and its hard to fault them on that account - but i find it hard to be moved either. elisabeth schwarzkopf seems to be a 'monstre sacree' nowadays (i mean this ironic!), where criticism feels like starting a feud. on her account i have to say that she is more artist than an artist can ever hope to be, but i often find myself wondering where the singer is behind all the interpretation! i do adore the young schwarzkopf (mid 1940's up to the mid to late 1950's ... probably with around 1958 the breaking point) and her earlier recording of the four last songs under ackermann is truly magical. but by the mid 60's her singing was all about art and not so much about music anymore. her inflections, even if carefully weighed, can seem mannered in a way that defeats the flow of the music itself - and the strange coloration of the vowels will always be an acquired taste. to sum it up, in this version it all seems coldly calculated and presented but not lived. it's pretty (and frau legge can still float a gorgeous line ... but sometimes her cooing comes close to cats meowing as well!) but in a synthesized way, where the emotion is fake and not real.
if you want a really great recording of the four last songs, go for della casa, isokowski, norman, janowitz, fleming or mattila ... or indeed jurinac (although one has to get used to very dimn orchestral accompaniment), or if it has to be schwarzkopf (and in general schwarzkopf is a good choice!) then do choose the earlier version under ackermann!
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE DARKEST INTERPRETATION Feb. 22 2004
By T
Format:Audio CD
Again Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's singing offers the best interpretation regarding the Composer's intentions. Of course her singing was accused as over-detailed because people just think that music is for entertainment. Schwarzkopf's singing was the most complex and difficult to understand in the 20th century.
It wasn't her fault she was such an Intelligent person and thus her Art demands a higher IQ and a higher musical culture from the listener's point of view (for that she was the favorite singer of many directors and musicians not to mention she was Richard Strauss' Muse)
Schwarzkopf' Art was not meant for inexperienced and musically neif listeners.
Jessye Norman also gives a Legendary interpretation of the 4 last songs with Regal Legato, Unbelievebale Breath Control and Beauty of Sound that actually melts your heart. But interpretively she is a youngster when compared to Elisabeth.
Fleming also has managed so soon to climb up along with the top 5 best interpreters of the 4 last songs. Her interpretation is the most idiomatic and personal I have ever heard. Where others sing beautiful sounds, Fleming talks with her soul...
But the 4 last songs represent an ending... (Schoenberg should have killed something else instead of tonality... maybe his cat!!! It would have been a crime we would have forgiven him for).
That ending is perfectly expressed with Scwharzkopf's dark tone...
Yes Beauty of Voice is Divine but Interpretation is sheer Genious!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Schwarzkopf Feb. 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
The songs of Strauss are rich, melodic and passionate and no where else is there a better interpreter than the gifted Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The detail and tenderness that are brought to the songs are a delight to listent to and the Four last songs are truly heavenly in this version. Szell allows the music to speak and never swamps Schwarzkopf. The addition of the other lesser known Strauss songs are a bonus rather than the early symphonic Death and Transfiguration and suit the mood better. Recording is a bit thin but nevertheless truly historic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Sept. 16 2003
Format:Audio CD
I don't speak German, nor do I know much about the composer, nor am I musicalogist. But this is one of the fine music that I can listen over and over, and never get tired of. Absolutely beautiful. I've also purchased similar Gundola Janowitz version. Janowitz has more gifted voice, but Swartzkopf's voice is much more mature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sehr schön Sept. 6 2002
By s
Format:Audio CD
This is a gem of a disc. The Four Last Songs are among the most beautiful things Strauss ever wrote, and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf gives a heartfelt and poignant rendition of these apopemtic lieder. The other songs on the disc are fine as well, especially Morgen. Other sopranos (Jessye Normam, Rene Fleming) have added their signature to the Four Last Songs, but you cannot go wrong with this recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For "Im Aberdrot" alone ... Sublime May 22 2002
Format:Audio CD
The "Im Abendrot" from the 4 last songs on this disk is quite simply the most heart-rending, delicate and sincere passage of singing I have ever heard. Szell's orchestral support is outstanding ... but it is Elizabeth Schwarzkopf singing that singles out this disk as indispensible. Richard Strauss's end was near when writing Im Abendrot (At Dusk), Schwarzkopf's was not, but yet she sings reflectively and calmly, as if her own personal dusk was days away. Simply Sublime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven in your living room! ESSENTIAL DISC! Dec 14 2001
Format:Audio CD
This disc is surely one of the most heavenly, inspired recordings in the catalogue. And at mid-price!!
Most people adore Schwarzkopf, the light and shadow, subtle inflections of tone, her beautiful, radiant voice bringing them to raptures of delight. Some can't stand her, finding her over-interpreting everything and not letting the music speak for itself. I fall very firmly into the former category.
People will always argue whether this performance of the Four Last Songs or the one she made 12 years earlier with Ackerman is superior. Let me be very clear - both are sublime, both are different, and if you can afford it, get both, like you would two recordings from different singers. If you can't afford both, get either. The earlier recording is more impassioned, fresher voiced. The latter recording (here) is more intelligent - it is hard to imagine more insights being poured into every word. It has a restrained, elegant passion that can only come from the years of experience Schwarzkopf garnered in these songs.
You will do well supplementing a Schwarzkopf four last songs with a larger voice like Norman or Studer, and a cleaner, purer, more silvery voice like Janowitz or Auger. But Schwarzkopf is the best place to start.
The vier letzte lieder aren't the only thing on this disc. The other Strauss lieder are just as delightful. Every time I return to this disc I'm struck afresh by just how indescribably beautiful her renditions are. Every time I see this disc in the CD shop I feel tempted to buy it again. I'm not normally that irrational but it's a reflection of how much I love this recital. This should be in every music-lovers collection. Obviously, you needn't hesitate!!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly "The recordings of the century"
There are many recording of "Four Last Songs", but this one is considered as one of the best by critics (In Japan, this one is said to be the first choice of this song. Read more
Published on July 18 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars BRAVA!! - - On Schwarzkopf's Technical Delivery
Elizabeth Schwarzkopf lived these songs and her poised tone and sensitivity to text and shading are what make this the greatest vocal interpretation. Read more
Published on April 28 2001 by Heroic Destiny
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and autumnal
This recording of Strauss's Four Last Songs is superb - for the most part. It should be said that this will not please everyone; in a way, it does not please me. Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2000 by cdsullivan@massed.net
5.0 out of 5 stars Still . . . Te Kanawa Accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic
Although I liked this one, I have another interpretation of Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs." The latter was performed by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the Vienna... Read more
Published on April 28 2000 by Ronald N. Tan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great interpretation
My two choices for Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss are the Norman and the Schwarzkopf versions. Going by sound Jessye Norman and Kurt Masur combine to make beautifully... Read more
Published on March 29 2000 by Michael Newberry
5.0 out of 5 stars Schwarzkopf - the art of the Lied
I have owned this recording together with her first commercial recording of the Four Last Songs with Ackermann for many years. Read more
Published on March 26 2000 by Herman D Soenario
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