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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Salzburg Recital 1956
Gottfried H. STÖLZEL (1690-1749)
Bist du bei mir (3:13) (attrib. J.S. Bach)
Alessandro PARISOTTI (1853-1913)
Se tu m'ami (2:21) (attrib. Pergolesi)
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Atalanta, HWV 35: Care selve (3:30)
Christoph GLUCK (1714-1787)
La rencontre imprevue: C'est un torrent impetueux (2:22)
Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Songs (3), Op. 83: no 1, Wonne der Wehmut (3:03)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
An Sylvia, D 891/Op. 106 no 4 (2:28)
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 5, Romance "Der Vollmond strahlt" (3:45)
Die Vogel, D 691/Op. 172 no 6 (0:49)
Der Einsame, D 800 (4:30)
Vedi, quanto adoro, D 510 "Didone abbandonata" (4:30)
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
Goethe Lieder: no 9, Mignon "Kennst du das Land" (6:50)
Goethe Lieder: no 8, Philine (3:21)
Eichendorff Lieder: no 8, Nachtzauber (3:59)
Eichendorff Lieder: no 7, Die Zigeunerin (3:26)
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 1, Ruhe, meine Seele (3:18)
Lieder (5), Op. 41: no 1, Wiegenlied (4:12)
Lieder (5), Op. 69: no 5, Schlechtes Wetter (2:02)
Lieder (4), Op. 36: no 3, Hat gesagt, bleibts nicht dabei (2:15)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Warnung, K 433 (416c) (2:24)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Myrthen, Op. 25: no 3, Der Nussbaum (3:24)
Die schone Mullerin, D 795/Op. 25: no 7, Ungeduld (3:12)
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano); Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 7 August 1956, Salzburg Festival
ARCHIPEL ARPCD0390 [69:57]

This CD contains a virtually complete Salzburg Festival recital which Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Gerald Moore gave in the Mozarteum in 1956. During the same festival she sang the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. The soprano was then at the height of her very considerable powers as a Lied interpreter. The recital contains performances of works familiar from both her studio recordings and from other similar live recitals. A recording of this concert has been issued previously as part of EMI’s Salzburg Festival Edition but I have been unable to compare transfers. Sound on the Archipel release is clear with little or no background noise, and in a believable concert acoustic which includes applause – occasionally intruding into the piano postludes of certain of the songs.
As always with Schwarzkopf, the programme creates an effective arch from the early works at the opening through the Schubert group and culminating in the intensity of the Hugo Wolf group before a gradual lightening in mood with Strauss and the encores.
The opening group of what might be called “early” examples of the lied are sung well although occasionally with that arch style of delivery which Schwarzkopf’s critics so disliked. Handel’s Care selve in particular offers an impressive display of legato singing and breath control and often featured in the soprano’s recitals at the time. The Gluck song is sung in German and is well done although again a simpler approach might have served just as effectively. Schwarzkopf treats Beethoven’s Wonne der Wehmut very much as a forerunner of later lied masterpieces and performs it with great intensity, indeed perhaps more than the song can comfortably take.
The Schubert group is well performed although An Sylvia may strike some listeners as somewhat imperious! In the Rosamunde Romance Schwarzkopf creates a faultless sense of stillness through use of restricted dynamics and legato. In Der Einsame soprano and pianist catch the mood of the song to perfection and the applause at the end is richly deserved. The Schubert group ends with unfamiliar fare in the shape of Vedi, quanto adoro. This song is in the style of an Italian cantata which elicits quasi-operatic singing from Schwarzkopf to bring the first half of this recital to an impassioned close.
With the group of songs by Hugo Wolf we move on to more serious fare and to some of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s most memorable interpretations. Kennst du das Land is given a sovereign performance with all the contrasting moods of the song vividly characterised. The performances of this and the other Wolf songs are broadly similar to her studio performances but benefit from the extra freedom of a live performance. The Strauss group, and the engaging encores, all provide further evidence, if any were needed, of her pre-eminence in the field.
Occasionally we are reminded that these performances were the result of intense and repeated rehearsal. Some songs are not performed with the spontaneity Schwarzkopf could achieve elsewhere. Compare this to her 1956 New York recital once available on EMI Références where several songs common to both recitals take wing far more effectively.
Overall the disc demonstrates both Schwarzkopf’s skills as a performer and, occasionally, mannerisms which were criticised by her detractors. In particular the wide dynamic range she employed in recitals, and which was not always evident in her studio recitals, is well illustrated. There is no sense of strain, no wobble, perfect legato and astounding breath control. The performances always capture the attention even if here and there we may not always agree with the style of interpretation. As ever Gerald Moore offers sterling support throughout.
Ewan McCormick


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