Royal Mezzo

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore has gathered four attractive works for soprano and orchestra, three related to tragic queens, and one romantically exotic. Barber wrote "Andromache's Farewell" for Martina Arroyo just before he turned to "Antony and Cleopatra," and the concert aria sounds in some ways like a study for the opera. Its dramatic tone particularly foreshadows Cleopatra's death scene, but with an even more intensely anguished post-Romantic expressionism. Berlioz's treatment of the Egyptian queen's death "La mort de Cléopâtre" has many lovely moments, but is unconventionally structured and dramatically somewhat odd; it's easy to see why the judges for the Prix de ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore has gathered four attractive works for soprano and orchestra, three related to tragic queens, and one romantically exotic. Barber wrote "Andromache's Farewell" for Martina Arroyo just before he turned to "Antony and Cleopatra," and the concert aria sounds in some ways like a study for the opera. Its dramatic tone particularly foreshadows Cleopatra's death scene, but with an even more intensely anguished post-Romantic expressionism. Berlioz's treatment of the Egyptian queen's death "La mort de Cléopâtre" has many lovely moments, but is unconventionally structured and dramatically somewhat odd; it's easy to see why the judges for the Prix de Rome didn't know what to make of it, withholding any award the year Berlioz entered it in the competition. Ravel's "Schéhérazade," the most familiar work on the CD, is a sumptuous, exotic, and perfumed setting of three poems by Tristan Klingsor. Britten's solo cantata Phaedra, one of his last completed pieces, uses excerpts from pivotal points in Racine's drama to highlight the queen's tragedy. Larmore has the range to easily encompass these works originally conceived for soprano, and brings them a richness and depth that only heighten their dramatic effectiveness. Her voice is dark and lustrous, and she uses it with wrenching expressiveness; the break in her voice as Andromache addresses her son, and the frenzied desperation of Phaedra's "I love you," hurled at her stepson, are testimony to the vividness of Larmore's characterizations. The Grant Park Orchestra, led by Carlos Kalmar, provides a colorful and disciplined accompaniment. The sound of Cedille's live recording is clean and balanced, but in the quieter passages it's possible to hear the rustle of page turning.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/10/2008
  • Label: Cedille
  • UPC: 735131910422
  • Catalog Number: 104
  • Sales rank: 390,096

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Andromache's Farewell, for soprano & orchestra, Op. 39 - Samuel Barber & Carlos Kalmar (13:17)
  2. 2–5 La Mort de Cléopâtre, for soprano & orchestra, H.36 - Hector Berlioz & Carlos Kalmar (21:37)
  3. 6–8 Shéhérazade, poems (3) for soprano (or tenor) & orchestra (or piano) - Maurice Ravel & Carlos Kalmar (17:29)
  4. 7 Phaedra, dramatic cantata for mezzo-soprano, string orchestra, percussion & harpsichord, Op. 93 - Benjamin Britten & Carlos Kalmar (14:45)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jennifer Larmore Primary Artist
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