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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    





The Radiant Voice of Barbara Bonney
John DOWLAND (1563 – 1626)
Come again: sweet love doth now invite 1

Henry
PURCELL (1659 – 1695)
Thy hand Belinda … When I am laid in earth 2

Johann
Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750)
Heute noch, lieber Vater, tut es doch 3

Giovanni
PERGOLESI (1710 – 1736)
Stabat Mater 4

Wolfgang
Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)
Alleluia 5
Laudate Domine (Vespers K339) 5
Deh, vieni, non tender (Le Nozze di Figaro) 6
Ach, ich fuhl’s (Zauberflöte) 6

Gaetano
DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848)
Chiedi all’aura lusighiera (L’elisir d’amore) 7

Robert
SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
Mondnach (Liederkreis, Op. 39) 8

Eduard
GRIEG (1843 – 1907)
Solveig’s Sang (Peer Gynt) 9

Jean
SIBELIUS (1865 – 1957)
Var det en drom? (Op.34, No.10) 10
Flickan kom ifran sin aisklings mote (The Tryst Op.37, No.5) 10

Richard
STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
Morgen (Op.24, No.4) 11
Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren (Presentation of the Rose – Der Rosenkavalier) 12

Alban
BERG (1895 – 1935)
Die Nachtigall (Sieben fruhe lieder) 13

Carl
ORFF (1895 – 1982)
In trutina (Carmina Burana) 14

Andrew
LLOYD WEBBER (b. 1948)
Pie Jesu (Requiem) 15

André
PREVIN (b. 1929)
Vocalise 16
Jacob Heringman, lute 1, Academy of Ancient Music – Christopher Hogwood 2, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Gustav Leonhardt 3, Andreas Scholl - Les Talens Lyriques – Christopher Rousset 4, The English Consort – Trevor Pinnock5, Drottingholm Court Theatre Orchestra – Arnold Ostmann 6, Gosta Winberg – Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino – Gabriele Ferro 7, Vladimir Ashkenazy 8, Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra – Neeme Jarvi 9, Antonio Pappano 10, Malcolm Martineau 11, Susan Graham – Wiener Philharmoniker – Christoph Eschenbach 12, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Riccardo Chailly 13, Wiener Philharmoniker – Andre Previn 14, Choir of Uppingham School – Daniel Phillips – English Sinfonia – Neil Page 15, Andre Previn and Sato Knudsen 16 . recorded in various locations from 1988 to 2001. All previously released except 12 on either Decca, DGG, L’Oiseau Lyre and Philips.

DECCA 468 818-2 [75.52] - DDD


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Now that Universal have started issuing compilations from recordings originally released on separate labels, this means that a disc such as this does not need to be restricted to one label. Here we have tracks from Decca, DGG, L’Oiseau Lyre and Philips issues, all relatively recent recordings and all DDD.

This compilation disc is a little out of the ordinary. There is a vast range of music here, dating from the 1500s to the present day. All tracks have been released before, except for the item from Der Rosenkavalier. Based upon the limited recording information given in the notes, this track appears to have been recorded at the same sessions in Vienna as those involved in the production of Decca’s disc of Strauss’s Heroines, released relatively recently featuring Renee Fleming, supported by Barbara Bonney and Susan Graham.

For those of you who have purchased the Fleming disc, this disc is a wonderful supplement. The Presentation of the Rose aria obviously could not be used for the Strauss Heroines disc because in the sessions Renee Fleming played the part of The Marschallin and Barbara Bonney the part of Sophie. Here, unfettered by casting considerations we are able to hear the aria, which had been omitted on the earlier disc. Many will buy the disc for this alone.

The entire disc is a delight from start to finish showing as it does the vocal expertise of one of the best female singers of the present day. Barbara Bonney consistently sings with a pure, clear voice, with no irritating mannerisms such as wide vibrato, squalling under pressure etc., which spoils for me some of the other current famous female voices presently in vogue with our record industry. Her avowed favourite area of singing, that of the song is well represented here with examples of her enormous range.

She can be heard singing early music such as the Dowland (accompanied on the lute by Jacob Heringman) or Purcell (with a period orchestra). Also there is modern repertoire such as the André Previn, accompanied by the composer on the piano or Alban Berg with full modern symphony orchestra. Her tone is consistently beautiful and totally musical, and what is more, fully in keeping with the various composers.

There is only one track (In trutina – from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana), where her voice sounds just a little too sophisticated for the atmosphere of the piece. Do not be put off by this as she still sings the piece most winningly.

Later on in the programme we are treated to another one of Barbara Bonney’s favourite repertoire areas – that of Scandinavian songs, both with orchestral accompaniment (from Grieg’s Peer Gynt) and with piano accompaniment, two songs of Sibelius, ably supported by her pianist Antonio Pappano.

Richard Strauss is represented by the excerpt already mentioned from Der Rosenkavalier plus one of Strauss’s piano accompanied songs. What a delectable sound she makes.

I have played this disc a number of times, and such is the variety of repertoire, it can be listened to in one sitting without the least fatigue. So, if you don’t own the complete discs from which these items have been lifted, do not hesitate – this collection is a gem.

John Phillips

 


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