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R. Strauss: Four Last Songs
     

R. Strauss: Four Last Songs

by Lisa della Casa
 
Decca's Legends series continues to bring back into circulation many truly legendary recordings, including some lovely surprises. Lisa della Casa was a great Straussian soprano, but her name isn't so well remembered today that one would expect these gems to be polished up and presented in a stylish new setting. And what gems they are.

Overview

Decca's Legends series continues to bring back into circulation many truly legendary recordings, including some lovely surprises. Lisa della Casa was a great Straussian soprano, but her name isn't so well remembered today that one would expect these gems to be polished up and presented in a stylish new setting. And what gems they are. When della Casa recorded Strauss' Four Last Songs in 1953, this was still "new" music. In fact, the order of the songs here -- "Beim Schlafengehen," "September," "Frühling," and "Im Abendrot" -- honors the composer's original preference, differing from the sequence usually heard today. The tempos are also significantly more fleet than is currently in vogue, giving the music a refreshing sense of urgency. Best of all, though, is della Casa herself. The voice is pure silver -- luxurious and amazingly lithe -- while her interpretive style is marked by a nobility many of today's more overtly emotional sopranos would do well to study. The operatic excerpts included here are just as impressive. Only in "Es gibt ein Reich" from Ariadne auf Naxos does della Casa seem out of her element, despite some gloriously spun phrases. The duets from Arabella, on the other hand, seem tailor-made to the soprano's gifts (and the composer seemed to agree, when he heard her sing the role in 1946). She recorded the complete opera with Solti in 1957, but sounds much fresher and more dramatically involved in these duets from 1953 and '54 with Hilde Gueden, Paul Schoeffler, and Alfred Poell. Last, but certainly not least, is the closing scene from Capriccio, more sensuously beautiful here than in Schwarzkopf's famous account, and equally poignant. The mono recordings lack body, but boast impressive presence and clarity in this new remastering. Notes, texts, and translations are included.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/10/2000
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028946711828
catalogNumber:
467118

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) for voice & orchestra, AV150
  2. Arabella, opera, Op. 79: Er ist der Richtige nicht für mich... Aber der Ric
  3. Arabella, opera, Op. 79: Der Richtige- so hab ich stets zu mir gesagt... Un
  4. Arabella, opera, Op. 79: Das war sehr gut, Mandryka
  5. Ariadne auf Naxos, opera, Op. 60: Es gibt ein Reich
  6. Capriccio, opera, Op. 85 (TrV 279)

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