Lieberson: Neruda Songs

Lieberson: Neruda Songs

by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
     
 
It was almost impossible to hear the singing of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson while she was alive without becoming viscerally, even physically moved. To listen to this posthumously released recording of the Neruda Songs -- a cycle composed for the mezzo-soprano by her husband, Peter Lieberson, and widely performed by her in

Overview

It was almost impossible to hear the singing of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson while she was alive without becoming viscerally, even physically moved. To listen to this posthumously released recording of the Neruda Songs -- a cycle composed for the mezzo-soprano by her husband, Peter Lieberson, and widely performed by her in the year before her untimely death in July 2006 -- is to risk something like total heartbreak. It's a risk worth taking -- arguably an essential risk, as indispensable as Hunt Lieberson's own artistry -- and the result adds richly to her all-too-small discography. The beauty of her radiant singing is matched here, superlatively, by the beauty of her husband's languidly luxurious music, with the words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as an equally important partner. Neruda's poems are love songs of great emotional complexity, even daring to pose, with sad acceptance, the prospect of ultimate loss: "My love, if I die and you don't." Perhaps not even in her acclaimed recording of Bach cantatas -- performances that also sing of facing death without fear -- did Hunt Lieberson convey simultaneously such gravity and grace. If, on one level, the Neruda Songs were self-evidently a precious gift from husband to wife, their performance and recording is an even more priceless offering -- perhaps, sadly, the last -- from one of the great singers of our time.

Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Ken Smith
These brilliantly crafted songs deserve all the attention they can get.
Billboard - Anastasia Tsioulcas
Hauntingly beautiful and utterly heartbreaking.... Hunt Lieberson sings with the resplendent tone and intellectual depth for which she was so justly renowned. It is a fitting close to a career -- and a life -- that ended much too soon.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A] These settings reach the exalted level of Das Lied von der Erde or the Four Last Songs. A year before her death, Ms. Lieberson was still in remarkable voice -- those chest tones in the fifth song are heartbreaking.
BBC Online - Charlotte Gardner
Simultaneously sad and uplifting, you’ll be hard pushed to find a performance to match this one for emotional intensity and ability to move the listener.... This is a 'must buy'.
San Jose Mercury News - Richard Scheinin
[Lieberson's] moonstruck voice combines rapturously with the sensual, almost tropical nature of the music and texts.
Newark Star-Ledger - Bradley Bambarger
Lieberson's performance of this sensual, affecting score is characteristically poetic, with every line beautifully sung and subtly felt.
The Guardian - Andrew Clements
There is unlikely to be any more touching testament to [Hunt Lieberson's] special qualities than this cycle.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/19/2006
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597995428
catalogNumber:
79954
Rank:
75086

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