Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Schumann Liederkreis Op. 24, Belsazar, Romanzen & Balladen Op 49, 53 & 64 Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto) Inger Sodergren (piano) BMG 09026 68900 65'53"

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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 1997.

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



Rob Barnett

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