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Jean SIBELIUS; Richard STRAUSS Songs.
Tom Krause (baritone), Pentti Koskimies (piano), John Williams (guitar)
rec. Kingsway Hall, London, January 1967 (Sibelius songs 1-16) (SXL 6314); Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, January 1963 ((Sibelius songs 17-25, Strauss) (SXL 6046). ADD
DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 9447 [76:27]

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Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Songs

1. Flickan kom ifrån sin äsklings möte, Op. 37 No. 5 (Runeberg) - The Maiden returned from her Lover's Tryst
2. Hennes budskap, Op. 90 No. 2 (Runeberg) - Her Message
3. Jägargossen, Op. 13 No. 7 (Runeberg) - The Hunter Lad
4. Längtan heter min arfvedel, Op. 86 No. 2 (Karlfeldt) - Longing is my Heritage
5. På verandan vid havet, Op. 38 No. 2 (Rydberg) - On a Balcony by the Sea
6. Romeo, Op. 61 No. (Tavaststjerna) - Romeo
7. Marssnön (Wecksell) - March Snow
8. Kullervon valitus [Kullervo Symphony, Op. 7] (Kalevala - Runo XXXV) - Kullervo's Lament
9. Höstkväll, Op. 38 No. 1 (Rydberg) - Autumn Evening
10. Den första kyssen, Op. 37 No. 1 (Runeberg) - The First Kiss
11. I systrar, I bröder, I alskande par, Op. 86 No. 6 (Lybeck) - Ye Sisters, Ye Brothers, Ye Loving Couples
12. Varen flyktar hastigt, Op. 13 No. (Runeberg) - Spring Flies Fast
13. Necken, Op. 57 No. 8 (Josephson) - The Elfking
14. Langsamt som qvallskyn, Op. 61 No. 1 (Tavaststjerna) - Slowly as the Evening Sky
15. Jag ar ett trad, Op. 57 No. 5 (Josephson) - The Tree
16. Norden, Op. 90 No. 1 (Runeberg) - The North
17. Narciss (Gripenberg) - Narcissus
18. Om, kvällen, (Illalle) Op. 17 No. 6 (Forsman-Koskimies) - To The Evening
19. Säv, säv, susa, Op. 36 No. (Froding) - Sigh, Sigh, Sedges
20. Kom nu hit, dod!, Op. 60 No. 1 (Shakespeare) - Come Away, Death!
21. Lastu lainehilla, Op. 17 No. 7 (Calamnius-Kianto) - Chip on the Waves
22. Diamanten på Marssnön, Op. 36 No. 6 (Wecksell) - A Diamond on March Snow
23. Vilse, Op. 17 No. 4 (Tavaststjerna) - Astray
24. Svarta Rosor, Op. 36 No. 1 (Josephson) - Black Roses
25. Var det en drom?, Op. 37 No. (Wecksell) - Was it a Dream?
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1 (von Gilm) - Devotion
Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29 No. 1 (Bierbaum) - Dream in the Twilight
Standchen, Op. 17 No. 2 (von Schack) - Serenade
Breit' uber mein Haupt, Op. 19 No. 2 (von Schack) - Spread above my Head
Ach, weh mir ungluckhaftem ann, Op. 21 No. (Dahn) - Oh, Woe is Me, Unlucky Man
Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3 (Mackay) - Secret Tryst
Ruhe, meine Seele, Op. 27 No. 1 (Henckell) - Rest, My Soul
Caecilie, Op. 27 No. 2 (Hart) - Cecily

These are the first London-based Sibelius song recordings of the Finnish baritone, Tom Krause. They date from 35 and 40 years ago. You might be more familiar with the more extensive he recordings he made with Söderström again in London between 1978 and 1981. These are still available in a boxed set (Decca 476 1725). Krause (b. 1934) must have used his voice intelligently over the years for in the later set it still sounded in good heart two decades after the recordings we hear now.

In these 33 songs he proves himself a stentorian dramatist in songs such as Flickan Kom and På verandan. Yet he can also phrase with honeyed serenading suaveness as in the Längtan heter. Fine grotesquerie is well within his reach in Romeo and there’s delicacy too in I systrar and Säv säv susa. The Sibelians of the 1960s were also vouchsafed an extract from Kullervo in the operatic-tragic Kullervon valitus. That he was aged between 29 and 33 when these recordings were made makes the results even more impressive.

Den Första kissen is passionate and romantic with nicely judged variations in dynamic. The mildest and most subtle of dissonances are included in the expressionist fantasy of Langsamt som qvallskyn. Pianist Pentti Koskimies (1922-1992) is sometimes a shade less sensitive than Ashkenazy in the second Decca set. He is however largely beyond any real criticism in the fragile and vulnerable Norden, the candied snowy chime of Om Kvällen with the patriotic echoes of Finlandia in the voice part and the quick-pulsed Var det en drom? In Vilse shades of Magic Flute and Viennese dance halls melt and separate. Krause rises to the lyrical challenge in Var det en drom? This set is also notable for its early appearance in a walk-on part by guitarist John Williams in Kom nu hit, dod! The notes are typically useful but it’s a shame to be without the sung words and translations.

The Strauss songs also benefit from his and Koskimies’ skipping and wondrous delicacy in Ständchen. More often though he is called on to be soulful as in Breit’ über mein Haupt or responsicve to intricate rhythmic patterning as in Ach, weh mir ungluckhaftem ann or heroic as in Caecilie.

The young Tom Krause caught in golden and resoundingly ringing youth.

Rob Barnett


 


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