Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also

Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases

Symphonies 4&5 £9 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett




Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release



alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Peter LIEBERSON (b. 1946)
Neruda Songs (2005) [31:11]
Si no fuera porque tus ojos tienen color de luna [5:04]; Amor, amor, las nubes a la torre del cielo [5:48]; No estés lejos de mi un solo día, porque cómo [6:23]; Ya eres mía. Reposa con tu sueño en mi sueño [7:26]; Amor mío, si muero y tú no mueres [7:10]
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo)
Boston Symphony Orchestra/James Levine
rec. 25-26 November 2005, Boston Symphony Hall
NONESUCH 79954-2 [31:11]


There is no way this recording will ever be redundant, because itís "more" than just a recording. It is a talisman, for itís a testament to the love between Peter and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.. As everyone will know by now, Lorraine Lieberson passed away in July 2006, and Peter Lieberson is presently in hospital in Houston. There is just no getting round the fact that these songs cannot be heard without being aware of the context. In any case it would be churlish to dismiss the fact that our response is coloured by this knowledge, because that knowledge pervades the composition and the performance. The Liebersons knew itís all about imminent death, as does nearly everyone involved. Death is something weíll all face one day, so itís a good thing that this performance makes us face up to that reality and learn from them how they dealt with it.

Some years ago Hunt Lieberson sang a shocking re-interpretation of Bachís Ich habe genug. This was shortly after the deaths of her mother and sister from cancer, and was intended as to raise awareness about the illness. More importantly, from an artistic point of view, it was a radical new approach to the spirit of the Bach cantata, re-affirming its spiritual message about renewal through faith. There is also no need for anything else to be on this recording. These new songs, to texts by Pablo Neruda, connect in their own way to that fascinating, but controversial interpretation, which some consider one of the singerís finest achievements.

Short this recording may be, but so is life. Anyone who feels short changed because they donít get 80 minutes for the price of the disc needs a soul transplant. This is much more than a performance, itís a human document. It is completely unique. Of course, itís a memorial to a remarkable personality and singer, but it "gives" something of value to the listener because itís so intensely personal and courageous. The booklet is stark and unadorned by anything but essentials. On the front is a photograph of Lorraine beaming defiantly. Inside, thereís another of her moments later, still smiling, but her eyes closed. And then, on the back cover, only black.

As Alex Ross says in his notes, this is "music of uncommon refinement, from which everything extraneous has been taken away". The voice jumps straight in with a unsentimental, matter-of-fact directness. These songs celebrate life, not death, and the power of love to overcome all obstacles. "Everything is alive so that I can be alive, Ö.. in your life I see everything that lives". She sings that last phrase with delicious fire. The accompaniment is spare, but sensual. High strings are balanced by the deeper notes of a harp. In the second song, the mood is of spaciousness, the strings shimmering as if to capture the stars and open air in the poem. "Thereís nothing here but light, quantities, clusters, space opened by the graces of the wind". The voice part isnít adorned, but floats above the accompaniment. In contrast, the third song confronts fear and loss. Itís eerily quiet, anxiety rising despite the poetís attempt to suppress it. The last word, "moriendo" (dying) is repeated several times over as if the singer is contemplating what will happen. Yet, again, itís more dignified and firm than sentimental. The imagery in the fourth song is restful and almost dreamlike, the words "Amor!" repeated lovingly. Yet the strings tell a different story: they are starker, entering with greater force, though a simple little figure pushes the movement ahead. It ends abruptly. Then, comes the magnificent final song, where the poet confronts death and separation. Chill strings shimmer, like the "vague wind swept on us, like sailing seeds". But itís the final strophe thatís most moving. "Love doesnít end, goes the poem, because it has no birth, it has no death. Ö It is like a long river, only changing hands, and changing lips". As if the composer cannot bear to end the song, he repeats the verse again, and then the last line, and then, simply "Amor Ö amor Ö. amor".

These songs are surprisingly performable, so no doubt one day, there will be other performances, and people will squabble over the "best" version, as quite likely this recording will be surpassed. But frankly, thatís irrelevant. What makes this recording special is that it is an artistic testament by two brave human beings confronting imminent separation and turning their anxieties into something which can, perhaps, help others when they, too, face such situations.

Anne Ozorio



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.