Lieberson: Neruda Songs

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
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.
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.

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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/19/2006
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597995428
  • Catalog Number: 79954
  • Sales rank: 102,671

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Primary Artist, Mezzo-Soprano (Vocal)
James Levine Conductor
Boston Symphony Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Technical Credits
Pablo Neruda Text
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Dirk Sobotka Producer
Alex Ross Liner Notes
Stephen Tapscott Text Translation
Mark Donahue Mastering
Peter Lieberson Composer, Liner Notes
Robert Edridge-Waks Editorial Coordinator
John Newton Engineer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Stunningly Beautiful and Meaningful Farewell/Adios

    There are great love stories about artists through the centuries but few would equal the purity of the love story of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Peter Lieberson. History will always remember this treasured couple for their individual gifts to music (Lorraine with her inimitable mezzo voice intrinsically involved in whatever she elected to sing and Peter for his lushly beautiful yet rewardingly avant garde compositions) and it is so very fitting that the final moments from their lives together should have been a song cycle on which they collaborated. This listener heard the performance of the Neruda Songs in May 2005 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a passionate, soaringly resonant and rich evocation of the language and the soul of Pablo Neruda's poetry: Lieberson was incomparable. It is so fitting that she left with us a live performance of the five songs written for her by her husband with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine (the cycle was co-commissioned by both the Los Angeles and Boston forces). The result is now a gold standard of not only the magnificence of this erotically charged cycle but also of the eloquence of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's voice and legacy. The cycle of five poems is some of the finest writing for voice and orchestra to grace our halls in some years. And while it is impossible to find a flaw in either the composition or the performance, the breathless closing of the cycle (in translation) 'But love, this love has not ended: just as it never had a birth, it has no death: it is like a long river, only changing lands, and changing lips' and then the repeated 'amor, amor, amor.....'. There are few works so perfectly created, so sublimely performed. This is a recording that will never tarnish but only gleam with age. Grady Harp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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