Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Dramatic soprano Nina Stemme makes her solo album debut on EMI with Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and the final scenes from "Salome" and "Capriccio." It would be difficult to imagine two operatic roles more dissimilar than Salome and the Countess Madeleine, but Stemme brings both of them to life. Her "Salome" is frenzied, and at the end, clearly unhinged, and Stemme is able to soar over Strauss' huge orchestra. In the final scene from "Capriccio," she handles Madeleine's musings with warmth and power, but some of her phrases in her upper register sound unsupported. She brings breadth of tone, a velvety timbre, and excellent intonation to the "Four Last Songs." Although she ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Dramatic soprano Nina Stemme makes her solo album debut on EMI with Strauss' "Four Last Songs" and the final scenes from "Salome" and "Capriccio." It would be difficult to imagine two operatic roles more dissimilar than Salome and the Countess Madeleine, but Stemme brings both of them to life. Her "Salome" is frenzied, and at the end, clearly unhinged, and Stemme is able to soar over Strauss' huge orchestra. In the final scene from "Capriccio," she handles Madeleine's musings with warmth and power, but some of her phrases in her upper register sound unsupported. She brings breadth of tone, a velvety timbre, and excellent intonation to the "Four Last Songs." Although she will not dispel memories of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf or Jessye Norman, she turns in a solid and lovely performance. Her voice is perhaps a little too heavy to spin out Strauss' luxuriant lines with the ringing radiance and tonal variety that characterize the most memorable performances. Antonio Pappano, leading the Covent Garden Orchestra, is likewise solid, but his reading lacks the valedictory transcendence that can make these songs so remarkably moving. EMI's sound is stellar -- Stemme and the orchestra have real presence and the balance is good.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Ms. Stemme’s compelling Strauss recording is distinguished on its own terms.... The impressive Antonio Pappano...draws insightful and gripping playing from his musicians.
Gramophone - Mike Ashman
Pappano and his orchestra (what solo playing!), while never hurrying, keep the forward pace of an attentive Lied accompanist -- emotional points are made without milking, matching the cool beauty of the soloist's timbre. Stemme has vocal height and weight in equal measure.
BBC Music Magazine - David Nice
(Salome) Stemme's is definitely a major talent.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
Though a true-blue soprano, [Stemme] has the sound and production of a mezzo. High notes are securely there, but that's not the part of her voice that blooms or carries much emotional truth.
The Guardian - Tim Ashley
There's no mistaking either the depth of [Stemme's] understanding of [Salome's] music or the psychological veracity she brings to her portrait of Strauss's lethally obsessive heroine.... Pappano's conducting is formidable: the Salome extract is high voltage and wonderfully sleazy, the other two works exquisite in their refinement.

Pappano and his orchestra (what solo playing!), while never hurrying, keep the forward pace of an attentive Lied accompanist -- emotional points are made without milking, matching the cool beauty of the soloist's timbre. Stemme has vocal height and weight in equal measure.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/8/2007
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • UPC: 094637879726
  • Catalog Number: 78797
  • Sales rank: 117,943

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nina Stemme Primary Artist
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