Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op 48

Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op 48

Article excerpt

Schumann Dichterliebe, Op 48. Frauenliebe und -leben, Op 42. Myrthen, Op 25--No 1, Widmung; No 7, Die Lotosblume; No 24, Du bist wie eine Blume. Dem roten Roslein gleicht mein Lieb, Op 27 No 2. Meine Rose, Op 90 No 2. Nachtlied, Op 96 No 1. Mein schoner Stern!, Op 101 No 4 Alice Coote mez Christian Blackshaw pf Wigmore Hall Live [R] WHLIVE0079 (74' * DDD * T/t) Recorded live, June 22,2014

The mezzo-soprano Alice Coote pins her colours to the mast in this recital, subtitled 'Woman and Man, The Human Soul in Love', captured live (and immaculately so) from the Wigmore Hall. For when it comes to playing men or women, Coote has spent her professional life playing both and has decided the soul is more important than the shape of the body it resides in.

Yes, perhaps the heroine of Coote's Frauenliebe und -leben is less girlish and more imposing than usual; certainly the hero of her Dichterliebe is a more vulnerable, introverted person than one is accustomed to. Yet Coote's approach to both characters is less defined by role-playing than it is by deep feeling and slow-burning intensity. If there are a few technical blips--some wavering tone, the odd frayed high note--the quality of the instrument and the singer's artistry is never in doubt.

This is established in the first, loose collection of six songs, which Coote calls 'Ein Liebesliederstrauss' or 'Bouquet of Love Songs'. These blooms, plucked from the composer's 'Lieder year' of 1840 and a decade later, also have thorns, and in her bouquet Coote finds not only lovesick headiness but also deep wistfulness and even Wagnerian gloom, particularly in the Lenau setting 'Meine Rose'. …

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