This is a disconcerting CD from an admired singer. The first
Liederkreis song cycle is fairly well sung, but I found the pianist
not imaginative and sometimes heavy-handed. Belshazzar is a compelling
version of the feast in Babylon and the writing on the wall. The Romances
& Ballads are less well known (apart from the Two Grenadiers
from Op 49) and there does not appear to be another complete recording of
them available. They are variable in interest and quality, and so is the
singing. Sometimes pitch is dubious, the voice a little strained, and vibrato
spreads. I suspect there was a problem and that Natalie Stutzmann was out
of voice during part of the session, which were spread over 5 days during
Most of the songs are really intended for male singers, and better left so.
The list of nearly 20 current recordings of Liederkreis, almost
exclusively by male singers, including leading lieder singers past and present,
indicates the stiff competition (though I'm sure Brigitte Fassbaender's recording
would be worth hearing - she used to successfully challenge her male colleagues
on their own ground).
This release cannot be considered competitive and I cannot recommend it,
even to Stutzmann's admirers.
Peter Grahame Woolf