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Vier Letzte Lieder/12 Orcheste
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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|
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
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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!!!!
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!!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
The songs of Strauss are rich, melodic and passionate and no where else is there a better interpreter than the gifted Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2004 by Dr. Jean-marc Alter
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003 by Doctorhumbert
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... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2002 by s
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. Read morePublished on May 22 2002 by John O'brien
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 morePublished on July 18 2001
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 morePublished on Oct. 29 2000 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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 morePublished on April 28 2000 by Ronald N. Tan
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 morePublished on March 29 2000 by Michael Newberry