MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing from

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Anna Lucia Richter (mezzo-soprano)
Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano)
rec. 2022, Lisztzentrum Raiding, Austria
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
Reviewed as downloaded from press preview
PENTATONE PTC5186986 [58]

My first encounter with Anna Lucia Richter was a Schubert recital on Pentatone some three years ago (review), which I awarded a Recommended tag, both for her beautiful singing and her discreet expressivity. Now she is back with a new recital, and in the meantime she has changed to mezzo-soprano pitch. Her voice has preserved its beauty, and at the somewhat darker-hued pitch it is now an ideal instrument for Brahms’s songs. As Anna Lucia Richter writes in the extensive liner notes: “No other composer of his time seems to have enjoyed and explored the velvety, middle voice register as much as Brahms. Works such as Von ewiger Liebe, Sapphische Ode or Auf dem Kirchhofe will always be favourites of any mezzo-soprano.” She also points out that Brahms is masterly at handling the texts. He “turns the poems into his own thoughts to such extent that the listener can literally taste the mixture of word and sound”.

For this recital Anna Lucia Richter has chosen songs connected with “twilight” (Dämmerung in German), and that’s field that suits Brahms’s temperament – also metaphorically: Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht – and inspires him to some of his most beautiful and touching songs. Thus one can enjoy this programme solely for the enchantment of the melodies and the ravishing beauty of the singing. But Anna Lucia Richter wouldn’t be Anna Lucia Richter if she didn’t also deliver well-considered interpretations based on a thorough understanding of the texts in the bargain. The essence of Lieder singing is the merging of words and music – just as she describes Brahms’s ability to make the listener “taste the mixture of word and sound”.

I feel no need to go into a detailed analysis of each of the twenty songs. Anna Lucia provides this in depth in her notes. I only want to point out some random observations I scribbled down during a coach ride. I noted the calm and solemnity of Sapphische Ode – a song that has been a great favourite of mine ever since I first heard it in Kathleen Ferrier’s historical recording. I admired the simplicity of Soll sich der Mond from Book V of 49 Deutsche Volkslieder. Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, in the legendary set with Fischer-Dieskau from the 1960s, is certainly simple but in a more precious, more studied manner. Liebestreu wallows in restrained drama – obviously a contradiction but the stress in on restrained – while Vergebliches Ständchen is light and folksy. Anklänge is warm and inward, Feldeinsamkeit – one of the glories of this set – even more so. The deeply emotional Auf dem Kirchhofe and the intense Der Tod das ist die kühle Nacht are sharply contrasted to the almost mercurial Dort in den Weiden; Von ewiger Liebe, again intensely delivered, rubs shoulders with the calm and lovely Die Mainacht, another old-time favourite I learnt through Irmgard Seefried’s recording from the late 1950s. And the eternal favourite Wiegenlied, which I best remember in Victoria de los Angeles’s ethereal reading with orchestra, is just as beautifully sung here – and more idiomatically.

The whole album is a gem and a valuable addition to the Brahms discography – which certainly isn’t meagre – and I wouldn’t mind a sequel. Ammiel Bushakevitz is an excellent accompanist and the production values high – as we have got used to with Pentatone.

Nobody will in all likelihood regret a purchase, and for inveterate Brahmsians this is an obligatory acquisition.

Göran Forsling

1 Ständchen (Op. 106, No. 1)
2 Sapphische Ode (Op. 94, No. 4)
3 Verzagen (Op. 72, No. 4)
4 Soll sich der Mond (WoO 33, No. 35)
5 Liebestreu (Op. 3, No. 1)
6 Vergebliches Ständchen (Op. 84, No. 4)
7 Vor dem Fenster (Op. 14, No. 1)
8 Anklänge (Op. 7, No. 3)
9 Feldeinsamkeit (Op. 86, No. 2)
10 Unbewegte, laue Luft (Op. 57, No. 8)
11 Auf dem Kirchhofe (Op. 105, No. 4)
12 Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht (Op. 96, No. 1)
13 Wie rafft ich mich auf in der Nacht (Op. 32, No. 1)
14 Mädchenlied (Op. 107, No. 5)
15 Dort in den Weiden (WoO 33, No. 31)
16 Von ewiger Liebe (Op. 43, No. 1)
17 Die Mainacht (Op. 43, No. 2)
18 Geheimnis (Op. 71, No. 3)
19 Wiegenlied (Op. 49, No. 4)
20 Sandmännchen (WoO 31, No. 4)

Published: November 18, 2022

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing