Saturday, January 28, 2012

Awards 2011 - Solo vocal

Strauss: Lieder
Diana Damrau; Münchner Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann

Why did this album get top marks from David Nice in BBC Music Magazine? "What wins this disc the five stars are the facts that Damrau, singing in her native German, is poised ideally between dreamy haze and Schwarzkopfian fussiness... and that her hallowed pianissimos allow the exquisite detail Thielemann draws from his Muncih players to shine". In IRR, Christopher Cook, too, is enthusiastic: "Here are 22 of Strauss's songs in their orchestral settings - the best-known and the less familiar - that ought to be on the shelves of anyone who cannot imagine a day without listening to this great German composer, admires musicians who have his music in their bones and yearns for committed singing that is as expressive as it is beautiful. Damrau possesses these virtues in abundance". As Bill White puts it in Fanfare, "Diana Damrau is one of the leading lyric coloratura sopranos in the opera world, so what is she doing recording Strauss Lieder? She's doing very well, thank you".

Pfitzner: Orchestral songs
Hans Christoph Begemann; Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Otto Tausk

"Fête Galante"
Karina Gauvin; Marc-André Hamelin

Loewe: Songs & Ballads
Florian Boesch; Roger Vignoles

Schubert: "Nacht und Träume"
Matthias Goerne; Alexander Schmalcz
Harmonia Mundi

Quite a few German Romantics here this year, and it's interesting that the top two are orchestral lieder rather than piano-accompanied. As it happens, Karina Gauvin's French recital is actually a reissue, which prompted a lot of soul-searching round here. There are a handful of albums that are reissues but not in the same sense as a box set or a budget-priced repackaging - if anything, they're an upgrade, bringing to attention something that might not have been properly noticed the first time round. So I made an exception for those few albums, and here's one of them.

No comments: