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Song Compilation: s’amuse…auf deutsch
Franz LEHAR (1870-1948)
I’ll sing you my song
Come to me for tea
Kiss me, my darling

Oscar STRAUSS (1870 –1954)
I am a woman who knows what she wants
Ninon
Every woman has a secret longing
Why shouldn’t a woman have an affair

Wilhelm GROSZ (1894-1939)
Telephone Order

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869)
The mother at the cradle
The tooth

Adolf JENSEN (1837-1879)
Murmuring breeze

Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874)
Come together we’ll walk
A sound

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
An encounter
In the forest

Johannes BRAHMS ((1833-1897)
Down there in the valley
O mother, I want to have a thingy

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Who made up this little song
In praise of high intellect

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
How to express joy
A girl’s first love song
A summer cradle song

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921)
When at night I go to sleep

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
Warning

Franz VON VECSEY (1893-1935)
Do you never think?

Edmund NICK (1891-1974)
The coy shepherdess
Felicity Lott (soprano) with Graham Johnson (piano)
(Recorded at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London March 1999)
FORLANE UCD16811 [67:59]



One of the most successful and congenial song recital albums of recent years was Dame Felicity Lott’s delightful ‘s’amuse…’ (Forlane UCD16760) , a collection of charming and often witty, sometimes naughty, French chansons. Here, she follows up with more of the same in s’amuse…auf Deutsch.

Once again we have a number of spicy, witty songs, this time from the German repertoire, all of which are sung with great élan and abundant, colourful expression. From Oscar Straus there is a clutch of impish cabaret songs: I am a woman who knows what she wants is a street-wise celebrity unashamedly craving the good life; Ninon was a lady of easy virtue whose ‘appetite was enormous’; Every woman has a secret longing for… ‘ a sweet and forbidden kiss’; and indeed Why shouldn’t a woman have an affair , when everybody seems to think she is! Lehár’s Come to me for tea is just as cheeky for the young man implies something stronger than this beverage when he promises ‘We’ll have tea all night long!’ Then in Kiss me, my darling, Lehár relates how Claire meets her lover around the corner for passionate embraces while her unsuspecting mother is away at the Chastity Club! Arnold Schoenberg holidaying away from his usual astringent atonality is represented by his cabaret song, Warning in which a flighty young girl, represented by frivolous piano figures is advised to find the ‘man who’ll make a perfect match…’ and to ‘shut the lid on him!’ And, surprise, surprise, even Johannes Brahms is not above such shenanigans. In ‘O mother, I want a thingy’ the mother is nonplussed wondering what it is her daughter wants – is it a doll ? a dress? --- no, its what a husband has!!

The other Brahms song is more serious, it is one of unrequited love, the lovely sadly lilting Down there in the valley. There has a beguiling folk-like simplicity that is also evident in the two Mahler songs. From Des Knaben Wunderhorn, comes the delightful and ironic In Praise of high intellect about the song contest between the nightingale and the cuckoo with the stupid donkey as the judge that favours the cuckoo because he sings ‘beautifully in time’. Who made up this little song?, again from Wunderhorn, finds Mahler in droll mood. Two sublime Hugo Wolf songs with scintillating accompaniments are included: A girl’s first love-song, quicksilver and effervescent about a young girl’s anxiety and churned emotions as she feels the first pangs of love; and the lovely gentle A summer cradle song. There are two early Richard Strauss songs: An encounter is a breezy melody about a beau who literally sweeps his maiden off her feet; and In the Forest, a merry celebration of the countryside.

Of the remaining songs, I would particularly mention Peter Cornelius’s beautifully melodic song of unrequited love, A sound with its last tolling bell-like chord; Adolf Jensen’s equally lovely Murmuring breeze with its captivating accompaniment, and Humperdinck's When at night I go to sleep, well-known from his opera, Hansel und Gretel sung here by Dame Felicity in duet with herself.

The recital begins and ends with Franz Lehár’s romantic I’ll sing you my song, so redolent of all his well-loved operetta arias.

A total delight. Dame Felicity Lott clearly enjoys these wonderful songs, songs that are often very cheeky and sometimes romantic and sentimental – all with splendid unobtrusive but illuminating accompaniments by Graham Johnson. Heartily recommended

Ian Lace


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