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FRANZ LEHÁR When the heart is young - a recital
of 19 songs
Der Thräne Silberthau!
Aus Längst Vergang'ner Zeit
Die du mein alles bist
When the Heart is Young
Ich war sein mädel
Das erste Mal
Ich hab' ein Hüglein im Polenland
Nimm mich mit, O Herbst
The alluring Song
Sehnsucht, Heimliches Verlangen
Wien - du bist das herz der Welt!
Sarah Leonard (soprano) Andrew
rec 6-8 Jan 1999, Waterloo,
London A Beulah live! recording BEULAH 1RF4 [65.10]
Unlike many Beulah issues this recital is a new recording. It showcases the
voice of Sarah Leonard and the lyric delights of Franz Lehár. A glance
through the Gramophone database reveals Sarah Leonard as a seasoned recording
artist with many discs to her name. The territory takes in Monteverdi and
Purcell but with the preponderance in favour of the more modern repertoire:
John Harle, Michael Nyman, Alexander Goehr, Gorecki, Bryars and Schnittke.
She has also recorded British songs. Lehár is not a name I would have
associated with her voice - my problem - not hers. On Radio 3 she has broadcast
songs by Bax and at least one vocal work by Elisabeth Maconchy (The Golden
Echo and the Leaden Echo).
Although only one of these nineteen songs comes from an operetta several
of them have the inflections and spirit I associate with Lehár's 'centre
of gravity (or is it levity?). Some of the accompaniments cry out for orchestral
treatment (perhaps they exist?) although vivid work by Andrew Ball is never
in doubt. The singing is ripe and affecting; singing with the meaning
of the words as well as with the musical line. If I have one reservation
it is that I had the impression that some of the higher notes were not as
comfortably handled as they might have been. The impression is sometimes
effortful rather than effortless. However the important thing is the spirit
of these songs and that seems well caught. Leonard excels in Die Du Mein
Alles Bist with its birdsong - all silvery restraint; while Das Lockende
Lied is a coloratura display of Queen Of Night melisma.
Möcht's jubelnd rather recalled the Disney musical film Beauty
and the Beast. A highlight is Nimm mich mit with its grand heroic
inflection in the piano as well as a touch of Griegian simplicity.
A rather nice collection without being utterly compelling and certainly throws
welcome light on a little considered part of Lehár's oeuvre.
Reviews from previous
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