Measha Brueggergosman - Night and Dreams
Claude DEBUSSY (1862 – 1918)
1. Beau Soir [2:08]
Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
2. Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3 [2:34]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
3. Ständchen, Op. 106 No. 1 [1:33]
Franz LISZT (1811 – 1886)
4. Oh! Quand je dors, S. 282 [5:05]
Henri DUPARC (1848 – 1933)
5. Chanson triste [3:01]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 – 1924)
6. Notre amour, Op. 23 No. 2 [1:41]
Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912 – 2002)
7. Canción de cuna para dormer a un negrito, Op. 4 No. 4 [2:32]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)
8. Nachtstück, D 672 [5:20]
Francis POULENC (1899 – 1963)
9. C’est ainsi que tu es, FP. 121 No. 2 [2:27]
10. An den Mond, D 193 [2:45]
Gabriel FAURÉ
11. Claire de lune, Op. 46 No. 2 [2:53]
Francis HIME (b. 1939)
12. Anoiteceu [4:43]
Reynaldo HAHN (1874 – 1947)
13. L’Heure exquise [2:47]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855 – 1899)
14. Les Temps des lilas, Op. 19 No. 3 [4:03]
Manuel de FALLA (1876 – 1946)
15. Nana [1:41]
16. Phidylé [4:51]
17. Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1 [1:12]
Hugo WOLF (1860 – 1903)
18. In dem Schatten meiner Locken [2:06]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)
19. Abendempfindung an Laura, K. 523 [4:32]
20. Ständchen, Op. 17 No. 2 [2:39]
Peter WARLOCK (1894 – 1930)
21. Sleep [1:54]
Measha Brueggergosman (soprano); Justus Zeyen (piano)
rec. Teldex Studio, Berlin, March 2009
Sung texts with translations in German, French and English enclosed
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 8101 [65:30]


Two years ago, when I reviewed Measha Brueggergosman’s debut recital Surprise!, I wrote ‘Here is a sensational surprise in the shape of the richly endowed Measha Brueggergosman, whose voice more than once reminds me of the young Leontyne Price.’ On this new disc it is rather Jessye Norman that she resembles most. It’s a vibrant voice of extreme beauty. She has an admirable legato and her sensitive phrasing tells us that there is a penetrating creative mind behind the singing, not just superb vocal cords and well drilled technique. Occasionally, though, the voice under pressure, lacks real purity. She is certainly impressive when she expands and lets the voice ring out in its full glory, as for instance in Liszt’s Oh! Quand je dors, but the vibrato also expands to such a degree that one can’t completely neglect it. But make no mistake: it is a great voice and minor imperfections also lend personality to the performances. In my notes there are many more pluses than minuses and words like ‘grand’, ‘intense’, ‘full-blooded’, ‘vivid’ and ‘beautiful’ abound.

In my review of the previous disc I also wrote: ‘From a wider perspective it may also be seen as a surprise to introduce a new singer through so unorthodox a choice of repertoire. Most debut recitals are either a concoction of well known Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Richard Strauss …’ Well, here it comes, but it is still a disc with a difference, a concept album on the theme Night and Dreams. And once again Ms Brueggergosman – or the record company – surprises us by a varied and far from subdued atmosphere. The choice of songs, though drawn from largely well known and rather traditional favourites, is geographically wide and there are also a couple of new acquaintances.

One of them is the Brazilian pianist, composer, arranger and singer Francis Hime, whose Anoiteceu is a very beautiful and inward song – with a powerful piano interlude. I quote Measha Brueggergosman from the liner-notes: ‘It’s about night, but it’s also about loss, when things get stolen from you in the night – when the moon takes away pieces of your soul.’ This song immediately became one of my favourites in this programme and I am certain that I will return to it quite often. The other one is Peter Warlock, or Philip Heseltine as was his real name, whose Sleep from 1922 rounds off this delectable programme.

Among the French songs Duparc’s Chanson triste is sung with glorious tone while Fauré’s Notre amour has a nervous intensity. The same composer’s Claire de lune and Hahn’s L’Heure exquise have long belonged among my favourites and they are both exquisitely performed. Chausson’s Le temps de lilas from Poème de l’amour et de la mer, normally performed with orchestra, offers dramatic singing of the highest order – a true highlight.

Montsalvatge’s little lullaby, which I first heard almost forty years ago, sung by Teresa Berganza, is hushed and intimate as it should be and the German songs are all well conceived, though Richard Strauss’s Wiegenlied is somewhat marred by the vibrato and in Mozart’s Abendempfindung, arguably his finest song, I miss the mercurial approach of a Seefried or a Schwarzkopf.

As I have written many times before we experience vibrato differently and what to a certain listener can be an irritant is fully acceptable to another. My recommendation is to listen before buying but I am in no doubt that Measha Brueggergosman is one of the most thrilling young singers at the moment. With a fine programme, a good pianist, recording out of DG’s top-drawer and full texts and translations this is a quality product that should offer many pleasant listening hours to lovers of Lieder and Mélodies.

Göran Forsling