BRAHMS Lieder & Liebeslieder Waltzes

JOHANNES BRAHMS

Lieder & Liebeslieder Waltzes
Magdalena Kozená ˇ Matthew Polenzani
Thomas Quasthoff ˇ Andrea Rost

Yefim Bronfman ˇ James Levine
Int. Release 10 Jun. 2016
1 CD / Download
0289 479 6044 7
Recorded Live at the Verbier Festival 2003


Track List

Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)
Fünf Lieder, Op.47

9 Lieder und Gesänge, Op.32

9 Lieder und Gesänge, Op.63

Matthew Polenzani, James Levine

Fünf Gedichte Op.19

Sechs Lieder Op.86

5 Lieder, Op.105

Magdalena Kožená, James Levine

Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op.52

Verses From "Polydora"

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Matthew Polenzani, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Fünf Lieder Op.107

Four Songs, Op.96

8 Lieder und Gesänge Op.57

Andrea Rost, James Levine

Fünf Lieder Op.94

Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine

Neue Liebeslieder Waltzer, Op.65

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Matthew Polenzani, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Magdalena Kožená, Andrea Rost, Matthew Polenzani, Thomas Quasthoff, James Levine, Yefim Bronfman

Total Playing Time 1:21:20

. . . a remarkable performance of Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52 and Neue Liebeslieder-Walzer . . . Audio quality is excellent . . .

. . . a charming, and at 81 minutes, exceptionally generous programme . . . They have great charm, and considerable melodic distinction . . . this ranks with the best.

An extraordinarily sensitive ensemble, lively tempos and vivid realization of the texts make these colorful "Love Song Waltzes" a feast for the ear. This essentially lighthearted performance, the perfect antidote to overly serious readings, aptly strikes the perfect balance between subtle humor and wistful charm . . . Polenzani brings an urgent ardor to "Message" and "How Are You, My Queen" fairly trembles with youthful rapture. In the late "Five Songs" from Opus 94, Quasthoff creates a palpable atmosphere that moves inexorably through nostalgia and bitter loss to heartbreaking defeat. It's a reminder of how much we miss this artist since his retirement.

Both "Liebeslieder" sets benefit from a real sense of relaxed, spur-of-the-moment music-making, with, one senses, James Levine and Yefim Bronfrnan sharing the driving seat, keeping the faster numbers urgent and vigorous, and allowing plenty of time in the slower numbers. Their top-quality pianism really lets us hear a wealth of delightful detail . . . Here we have the firm foundations of Thomas Quasthoff's appealingly open, purring bass-baritone, with the inner parts filled by Matthew Polenzani's bright, buzzy tenor and Madgalena Kozená's rich, colourful mezzo . . . Quasthoff and especially Kozená are strongest in their solo selections, the mezzo's three songs distinguished by her plangent tone and slightly shimmering vibrato. Polenzani sings with pleasingly ardent tone . . . The sound is lively and clear . . . A fun, well-filled disc.

. . . to the performers' credit, the approach is decidedly vibrant. The balance, with an able assist from the DG engineers, is outstanding: all the voices ring out clearly, and the magnificent four-hand piano accompaniment sparkles . . . For those unacquainted with James Levine as a pianist, this will show how superbly he played in his prime . . . The exuberant verve with which the six musicians dive into "Nein, es ist nicht auszukommen" right after the soothing, rolling phrases of "O wie sanft die Quelle sich" is thrilling. The cycle's duets emerge particularly well, as exemplified by "Vögelein durchrauscht die Luft," which features Andrea Rost and Magdalena Kozena in a beautiful pairing . . . The closing "Es bebet das Gestrauche" has breathless, surging excitement . . . Levine (who accompanies all the solo sets) provides perfectly calibrated playing . . . Best of all the soloists is Quasthoff, whose bronzed, magisterial timbre often sounds as if it had been created specifically for the purpose of performing Brahms . . . He seems to offer continuous insights into the human soul as the phrases stream by . . . this disc provides a plethora of aural poetry, and the generous eighty-one-minute playing time makes it additionally worthwhile.

The performances have propulsion and drive . . . Add the additional spark of a live setting, and nothing I've heard before is quite this vibrant . . . [the Lieder sung by individual singers] alone could justify the whole album . . . [Matthew Polenzani 's operatic approach] felt at odds with Lieder style, but the beauty of his voice, along with his musicality, won me over . . . [Magdalena Kozená] is in even better voice, sounding young and vivacious . . . she's very winning here . . . The high point among the individual song groupings is undoubtedly the five Lieder, op. 94, sung by Thomas Quasthoff . . . he's at his very best here . . . ["Sapphische Ode" is] sung with rapt sensitivity . . . Kozená is lustrously beautiful in her two solos . . . James Levine serves as an excellent accompanist throughout . . . the performers vary the mood, touching extremes of passionate outpouring and tender intimacy -- all to the good . . . this recording of the "Liebeslieder Waltzes" could easily be a first choice . . . this concert offers a refreshing and unique take.

. . . ces 70 minutes de musique s'écoutent dans une félicité constante. De plus, elles constituent une porte d'entrée idéale dans le monde des lieder de Brahms . . . C'est le ténor Matthew Polenzani qui ouvre le feu, avec une voix idéalement souple et lumineuse, et une sorte d'héroisme intime qui est difficile ŕ décrire par les mots mais qui convient parfaitement dans ces délicates miniatures . . . Changement total d'atmosphčre avec Magdalena Kozena. C'est la fęlure, la misčre de la femme délaissée qu'on entend ici, dans une voix qui évoque un cristal parcouru de nervures délicates. Le "Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer" est étreignant . . . [Thomas Quasthoff] sait toutefois jusqu'oů aller dans l'expression sans détruire la ligne, et sa prestation est un modčle d'équilibre, sur la ligne de cręte entre beauté et désespoir . . . Celui qu'il ne faut surtout pas oublier de mentionner, c'est James Levine, malgré le talent qu'il met ŕ se faire petit. Constamment ŕ l'écoute, pręt ŕ relancer le discours, ŕ fournir ŕ ses chanteurs un appui solide, "Jimmy" renoue avec les qualités qui ont fait de lui un grand chef d'opéra: l'activité fébrile et l'énergie, jointes ŕ une totale discrétion . . . Au total, un CD admirable, qui est ŕ recommander ŕ tous ceux qui ont encore peur de rentrer dans le monde fascinant des lieder de Brahms.