Magazine article Gramophone

Jessye Norman: Bizet Habanera Schoenberg Brettl-Lieder R Strauss Zueignung

Magazine article Gramophone

Jessye Norman: Bizet Habanera Schoenberg Brettl-Lieder R Strauss Zueignung

Article excerpt

Jessye Norman

Bizet Habanera Schoenberg Brettl-Lieder R Strauss Zueignung, Op 10 No 1. Allerseelen, Op 10 No 8. Standchen, Op 17 No 2. All' mein' Gedanken, Op 21 No 1. Du meines Herzen Kronelein, Op 21 No 2. Nachtgang, Op 29 No 3 Tchaikovsky Six Songs, Op 65--No 1, Serenade; No 2, Deception; No 3, Serenade, 'J'aime dans le rayon de la limpide aurore; No 6, Rondel Wagner Wesendonck-Lieder Jessye Norman sop James Levine pf Orfeo (F) C926161B (80' * DDD) Recorded live at the Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, August 6, 1991

This is a fascinating and rewarding recital, which shows Jessye Norman's considerable strengths as well as a few idiosyncrasies for which James Levine at the piano, no stranger to a leisurely tempo, might also be equally to blame. The fact is, an approach that makes the central Wesendonck--Lieder compelling is applied also to the other repertoire, where it doesn't always work so well.

The opening Strauss set is considered and calm, then, rather than ardent (the climax of a leisurely 'Allerseelen' is notably internalised), but the soprano's mature artistry shines through in every bar. The delicate Tchaikovsky songs react to it less well, in performances that are also carefully executed and lovingly turned, but often just feel far too slow. …

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