Brahms, Schubert, R. Strauss & Others: Art Songs (Live)

Brahms, Schubert, R. Strauss & Others: Art Songs (Live)

Lisa Della Casa

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Album review

“Although born a bit earlier than Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, some commentators number Swiss soprano Lisa della Casa as having been among "the last of the great opera divas," and few -- if any -- have risen to challenge that notion. During her prime, della Casa was a frequent flyer at the Salzburg Festival, but mainly in opera productions; EMI Classics' Lisa Della Casa: Lieder-Recital represents the first release of the only solo recital della Casa gave in Salzburg. It features della Casa in a varied menu of art songs as accompanied by pianist Arpad Sándor on August 11, 1957. As della Casa was best known as a singer of Richard Strauss' operatic roles, perhaps it's not surprising that she sings more Strauss than anything else here. However, she does a very good job with Schubert's Gretchen am Spinnrade, Brahms' Feldeinsamkeit, and the two still rarely heard songs from Othmar Schoeck's incidental music to Erwin und Elmire. In general, this recital never falls below a certain very high level of performance, though there are brief moments of strain that may result from enthusiasm or even too anxious a desire to please; perhaps this is one reason della Casa didn't do solo recitals very often. Nevertheless, she sounds fine here; the recording -- which was divvied up into numerous small tapes by an archivist and needed to be regathered for reissue -- is very good for a live mono recording of this era, though sometimes accompanist Arpad Sándor is a little difficult to hear. This EMI release was part of a limited edition series; the recording was later reissued in the Orfeo D'Or series Salzburg Festspiel Dokumente.”

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    15 March 2019