Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: The Radient Soprano

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BACH / MOZART / RICHARD STRAUSS / MAHLER / SCHUBERT / etc
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: The Radient Soprano
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) with Victoria de los Angeles, Imgard Seefried, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, etc

[ Warner Classics Icon / 10 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Monday 7 February 2011

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. Blessed with a voice of exquisite beauty, as well as a striking physical presence, she shone brightly in opera, excelled in the concert hall and brought a unique artistry to the recital platform.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006) is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. Blessed with a voice of exquisite beauty, as well as a striking physical presence, she shone brightly in opera, excelled in the concert hall and brought a unique artistry to the recital platform. She was signed exclusively to EMI in 1946 by the recording producer Walter Legge, with whom she formed a dedicated artistic and personal relationship, and together they produced a stream of magnificent recordings over almost 30 years. In addition to the tonal qualities of her voice, Schwarzkopf was renowned for her unrivalled communicative ability, which the vocal critic John Steane described as 'almost making the voice visible'. Thus she could translate her charismatic stage presence into purely vocal terms through the medium of recording, and still convey all the dramatic meaning of her songs and operatic characters to listeners who could hear but not see her. This rare quality is evident in all the recordings in this unique collection, which covers a lifetime of work and reveals the development of her art.

The first CD begins with recordings of works by Bach, Handel and Mozart that are among the earliest that Schwarzkopf made for EMI. They show her voice at its freshest and also exhibit her fine legato and appreciable technique in Baroque music.

CD 2 begins with the famous collaboration between Schwarzkopf and the eminent pianist Walter Gieseking in a collection of simple but refined songs by Mozart that reveal great beauty of tone, evenness of line and sincerity of expression in the singing, as well as sensitive accompaniment from Gieseking. These are followed by four of Mozart's concert arias with orchestra, in which the conductor is the highly regarded George Szell.

At the beginning of her career, Schwarzkopf sang mainly lighter roles and in CD 3 we have a collection of Mozart arias that demonstrate this part of her repertoire in the arias of Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), but also a number of lyric roles that she never sang on stage, including Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). This disc also gives us the chance to compare Schwarzkopf's totally different characterisation of the three principal female roles in Don Giovanni (Elvira, Anna and Zerlina) and Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna, Cherubino and the Countess).

CD 4 brings us back to the field of Lieder and includes another collaboration with a famous pianist, this time Edwin Fischer, in a highly acclaimed recital of Schubert Lieder, as well as more Schubert songs with her two regular accompanists, Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons.

In CD 5 we encounter the widely varied programmes of songs by a wide-ranging selection of composers - from Mendelssohn and Schumann, through Liszt and Brahms, to Mahler and Medtner and many more in between - that would often be a feature of Schwarzkopf's recitals. To each of these songs she brings her own individuality and stamps them with her personal qualities of beautiful singing and vivid interpretation.

The next disc is devoted entirely to the songs of Hugo Wolf, a composer whom Legge had championed since the beginning of the 1930s. Guided by Legge, Schwarzkopf became a peerless interpreter of Wolf's compositions. This live recording is of a legendary concert in Salzburg on 12 August 1953 marking the 50th anniversary of Hugo Wolf's death. The piano accompanist is the great conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler.

CD 7 brings us to Richard Strauss, a composer of whose works Schwarzkopf was a matchless performer. It begins with Schwarzkopf's 1953 recording of Strauss's valedictory Vier letzte Lieder, followed by the closing scene from Capriccio, an opera that Schwarzkopf performed a number of times on stage, and ends with scenes from Arabella, which Schwarzkopf sang only in the recording studio.

CD 8 stays with Richard Strauss. It starts with a long extract from the first act of Der Rosenkavalier beginning with the aging Marschallin contemplating the passing of the years in a famous monologue and then going to the end of the act in an extended duet with her young lover, the handsome Octavian. This is followed by the glorious trio from the end of the third act, one of Strauss's most beautiful compositions for the female voice. Then come 12 of Strauss's wonderful songs for soprano with orchestra, all conducted in supreme Straussian style by George Szell.

In CD 9 we turn to the lighter side of Schwarzkopf's repertoire with extracts from a whole range of delightful Viennese operettas, beginning with two of Johann Strauss II's favourite works: Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron. Then come several extracts from Schwarzkopf's second complete recording of Die lustige Witwe by Franz Lehár, and finally the complete recital of operetta arias that was always one of Schwarzkopf's must popular albums.

The final CD in the set starts with some of Schwarzkopf's earliest operatic recordings, when she was singing Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier rather than the Marschallin, and a very youthful-sounding Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel. Then come a varied assortment of operatic arias that recall some of the roles that Schwarzkopf sang in the early part of her career, and the disc concludes with four items from the memorable concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in February 1967, when Schwarzkopf joined with her two distinguished colleagues Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau and Victoria de los Angeles to pay homage to that doyen of accompanists, Gerald Moore.

Tracks:

Bach, J S:
Cantata BWV51 'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen'
Cantata BWV208 'Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!'
Mein glaubiges Herze (My believing heart) from Cantata No. 68
Cantata BWV199 'Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut'
Bist du bei mir, BWV508

Brahms:
Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84 No. 4
Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Op. 105 No. 2
Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105 No. 1
Der Jäger (No. 4 from Sieben Lieder, Op. 95)
Liebestreu, Op. 3 No. 1
Ständchen, Op. 106 No. 1

Dvorak:
Songs My Mother Taught Me, Op. 55 No. 4

Grieg:
Barnlige sange, Op. 61 No. 3 'Lok'
Ich liebe Dich, Op. 5 No. 3
Med en vandlije, Op. 25 No. 4
Våren, Op. 33 No. 2
The First Meeting Op. 21 No. 1
Zur Rosenzeit (No. 5 from Seks Sange, Op. 48)

Handel:
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato: Sweet Bird

Heuberger:
Henri and Hortense's Duet (Gehen wir ins Chambre séparée) from The Opera Ball

Humperdinck:
Suse, liebe Suse... Brüderchen, komm tanz mit mir (from Hänsel und Gretel)
Der kleine Sandmann bin ich (from Hänsel und Gretel)
(with Irmgard Seefried)

Jensen, A:
Murmelndes Lüftchen, Op. 21 No. 4

Lehár:
Bitte meine Herren
Viljalied (from Die lustige Witwe)
Lippen schweigen (from Die Lustige Witwe)
(with Eberhard Wächter, baritone)
Einer wird kommen (from Der Zarewitsch)
Heut' noch werd' ich Ehefrau...Unbekannt, deshalb nicht minder interessant (from Der Graf von Luxemburg)
Ich danke...Soll ich? Soll ich nicht? (from Der Graf von Luxemburg)
Meine Lippen sie Kussen so heiss (from Giuditta)

Liszt:
Die drei Zigeuner, S.320

Mahler:
Lob des hohen Verstandes (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)

Medtner:
Selbstbetrug, Op. 15 No. 3
Aus 'Lila', Op. 15 No. 5

Mendelssohn:
Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, Op. 34 No. 2

Millöcker:
Ich habe Liebe schon genossen...Ich schenk' mein Herz (from Die Dubarry)
Was ich im Leben beginne...Ja so ist sie, die Dubarry (from Die Dubarry)

Mozart:
Exsultate, jubilate, K165
Ridente la calma, K152
Oiseaux, si tous les ans, K307
Dans un bois solitaire, K308
Die kleine Spinnerin, K531
Als Luise die Briefe, K520
Abendempfindung an Laura, K523
Das Kinderspiel, K598
Die Alte K517
Das Traumbild, K.530
Das Veilchen, K476
Im Frühlingsanfang, K597
Die Zufriedenheit,K.349
Das Lied der Trennung, K519
An Chloë, K524
Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge, K596
Ch'io mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene, K505
Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K583
Alma grande e nobil core K578
Nehmt meinen Dank, ihr holden Gönner!, concert aria K383
L'amerò, sarò costante (from Il re pastore)
Zeffiretti lusinghieri (from Idomeneo)
Welche Kummer herrscht in meiner Seele (from Die Entführung aus dem Serail)
Traurigkeit (from Die Entführung aus dem Serail)
Martern aller Arten (from Die Entführung aus dem Serail)
Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (from Le nozze di Figaro)
Porgi amor (from Le nozze di Figaro)
Voi che sapete (from Le nozze di Figaro)
Dove sono i bei momenti (from Le nozze di Figaro)
Giunse alfin il momento... Deh, vieni, non tardar… (from Le nozze di Figaro)
Batti, batti, o bel Masetto (from Don Giovanni)
Vedrai, carino (from Don Giovanni)
In quali eccessi ... Mi tradì quell'alma ingrate (from Don Giovanni)
Crudele! Ah no, mio bene! ... Non mi dir, bell'idol mio (from Don Giovanni)
Ach, ich fühl's (from Die Zauberflöte, K620)
Come scoglio (from Così fan tutte)

Mussorgsky:
In der Pilzen

Puccini:
Tu che di gel sei cinta (from Turandot)
O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)

Rossini:
La regata veneziana (C. Pepoli)
(with Victoria de los Angeles, soprano)
Duetto buffo di due gatti (Comic Duet for Two Cats)
(with Victoria de los Angeles, soprano)

Schubert:
Die Vogel D691
Liebhaber in allen Gestalten, D558
An die Musik D547
Im Frühling, D882
Wehmut, D772 (Collin)
Ganymed, D544 (Goethe)
Das Lied im Grünen, D917
Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118
Nähe des Geliebten, D162
Die junge Nonne, D828
An Sylvia, D891
Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D774
Nachtviolen D752 (Mayrhofer)
Der Musensohn, D764 (Goethe)
Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen, D343
Ungeduld (No. 7 from Die schöne Müllerin, D795)
Heidenröslein, D257
Der Jüngling an der Quelle, D300 (Salis-Seewis)
Der Einsame, D800
Die Forelle, D550
Liebe schwarmt auf allen Wegen, D239 No. 6 (Goethe)
Seligkeit D433 (Holty)
An mein Klavier D342 (Schubart)
Erlkönig, D328

Schumann:
Liederkreis, Op. 39
Aufträge, Op. 77 No. 5
Widmung, Op. 25 No. 1
Tanzlied
(with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone)

Siecynski:
Wien, Wien nur du Allein (Vienna, City of My Dreams)

Strauss, J, II:
Dieser Anstand, so manierlich (from Die Fledermaus)
(with Nicolai Gedda, tenor)
Klänge der Heimat (from Die Fledermaus)
So elend und so true…O habet acht (from Der Zigeunerbaron)
Wer uns getraut? (from Der Zigeunerbaron)
Nun's Chorus & Laura's Song from Casanova

Strauss, R:
Four Last Songs
Morgen mittag um elf! (from Capriccio)
Ich danke, Fraulein (from Arabella)
Anny Felbermayer (Zdenka)
Mein Elemer! Das hat so einen sonderbaren (from Arabella)
Anny Felbermayer (Zdenka), Murray Dickie (Elemer)
Sie woll'n mich heiraten, sagt mein Vater (from Arabella)
Josef Metternich (Mandryka)
Und jetzt sag ich Adieu, mein lieber Dominik (from Arabella)
Harald Pröglhöf (Dominik), Walter Berry (Lamoral)
Das war sehr gut, Mandryka (from Arabella)
Josef Metternich (Mandryka)
Der Rosenkavalier: excerpts
(with Christa Ludwig & Teresa Stich-Randall)
Muttertändelei, Op. 43 No. 2
Waldseligkeit, Op. 49 No. 1
Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1
Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1
Die heiligen drei Könige aus Morgenland Op. 56 No. 6
Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1
Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3
Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1
Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4
Das Bächlein, Op. 88 No. 1
Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1
Winterweihe, Op. 48 No. 4
Herr Gott in Himmel! (from Der Rosenkavalier)
9with Irmgard Seefried)

Suppe:
Hab' ich nur deine Liebe (from Boccaccio)

Tchaikovsky:
Lied der Mignon: Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, Op. 6 No. 6

Verdi:
Libera me (from Requiem)

Wagner:
Dich, teure Halle (from Tannhauser)
Einsam in trüben Tagen (from Lohengrin)

Weber:
Wie nahte mir der Schlummer … Leise, leise, fromme Weise (from Der Freischütz)

Wolf, H:
Im Frühling (No. 13 from Mörike-Lieder)
Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)
Lebe wohl (No. 36 from Mörike-Lieder)
Schlafendes Jesuskind (No. 25 from Mörike-Lieder)
Phänomen (No. 32 from Goethe-Lieder)
Die Spröde (No. 26 from Goethe-Lieder)
Die Bekehrte (No. 27 from Goethe-Lieder)
Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)
Blumengruss (No. 24 from Goethe-Lieder)
Epiphanias (No. 19 from Goethe-Lieder)
Wie lange schon war immer mein Verlangen (No. 11 from Italienisches Liederbuch)
Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt? (No. 32 from Italienisches Liederbuch)
Nein, junger Herr, so treibt man's nicht, fürwahr (No. 12 from Italienisches Liederbuch)
Mein Liebster hat zu Tische mich geladen (No. 25 from Italienisches Liederbuch)
Bedeckt mich mit Blumen (No. 26 from Spanisches Liederbuch: Weltliche Lieder)
Herr, was trägt der Boden hier (from Spanisches Liederbuch)
In dem Schatten meiner Locken (No. 2 from Spanisches Liederbuch: Weltliche Lieder)
Mögen alle bösen Zungen (No. 13 from Spanisches Liederbuch: Weltliche Lieder)
Wie Glanzet der Helle Mond
Wiegenlied im Sommer (from Sechs Lieder für eine Frauenstimme)
Nachtzauber (No. 8 from Eichendorff-Lieder)
Die Zigeunerin (No. 7 from Eichendorff-Lieder)
Mignon IV 'Kennst du das Land' (No. 9 from Goethe-Lieder)

Zeller:
Ich bin die Christel von der Post (from Der Vogelhändler)
Schenkt man sich Rosen in Tirol (from Der Vogelhändler)
Wo sie war die Müllerin...Sei nicht bös' (from Der Obersteiger)