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Vier Letzte Lieder/12 Orcheste

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 32.33
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 3 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00000GCAE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,563 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Audio CD
Elizabeth Schwarzkopf lived these songs and her poised tone and sensitivity to text and shading are what make this the greatest vocal interpretation. There are things to criticize otherwise, for example, the downward semi-tone transpostion of Fruling, and her non-interpretational shifting of vocal colors as she approaches the lower register.
Many prefer her earlier recording, but she, herself, prefers this version. I prefer this version also because she is more able to express the progression of life. The warm lilting tone, word inflection, breath control, and her facility in full support pianissimo singing create a vocal miracle. Never once are her soft passages given to mezza voce, they are all firmly set in the intercostals. Furthermore, the tone is never spread but consistently softly pointed. She must have been exhausted after she finished.
You may have Te Kanawa for a more generically beautiful delivery, Norman's version is more grand, I enjoyed Birgit Nilsson's singing of it, but here Schwarzkopf is in a class by herself. She could easily get ten stars.
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