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Vier Letzte Lieder/12 Orcheste

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 55.25
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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: #136,218 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
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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I have owned this recording together with her first commercial recording of the Four Last Songs with Ackermann for many years. In order to fully appreciate the art of Schwarzkopf in Lieder and in particular the Four Last Songs, the listener must understand the full meaning of each of the German words and the way Strauss phrased it. We must remember that the words came first, then they were translated into music, as is the case in most of German Lieder. Like Fischer-Dieskau, Schwarzkopf clearly understands the importance of each of the words in relation to the verses. It is sad for the listener that ES and DFD are so severely critized regarding their emphasis on the text, and I believe this criticism comes mainly from English speaking listeners. I have 8 different interpretations on CD of the Four Last Songs, and am still convinced that ES in this recording is absolutely spot on. An absolute must! It is absolutely Glorious! Herman Soenario, Lecturer Musicology at James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland Australia.
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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. But there is no truly perfect recording of these songs, and this is unquestionably one of the best. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was fifty when she made this recording in 1965, so her voice is not as beautiful as on, say, her 1951 Beethoven Nine with Furtwängler. HOWEVER: this is only noticable in two aspects of her singing: her lower register, which has grown somewhat harsh and brittle, and her breath control, probably the most serious disappointment in this set - some of Strauss's long, long, phrases (e.g. end of September) have to be reworded so she can fit in a breath. Also, her interpretation is controversial: I think that sometimes she focuses so much on the little details in each word that we actually lose the whole picture. I think, though, that this is more of a problem in the other songs on the disc, and this problem doesn't interfere with the Four Last Songs. So for the most part, this is an outstanding performance. She is slightly brittle at the start of "Frühling," but she quickly improves. In some of the soaring, radiant phrases towards the middle, we hear her real voice come through: silvery, luminescent and soft-toned. She characterizes "September" most movingly; she pays attention to word-coloring in a way other singers seem unable to do, which makes up for not having the breath control of a Janowitz or a Norman. "Beim Schlafengehen" is excellent, but again we note the lack of breath control. "Im Abendrot," though, is the crowning glory of this recording. She is in radiant voice, and brings out all the poignancy of this astounding song.Read more ›
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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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