Barbara Bonney's recital of the Schumanns' songs is prefaced, in the booklet-note, with a little feminist homily from the singer defending the reputation of Clara as woman and artist. Clara hardly needs that kind of defence nowadays, witness recent CDs by Skovhus and Stutzmann, plus several others not reviewed in these pages; her songs are far from patronized, let alone neglected. Yet, for all the advocacy of these singers, her inspiration remains for me intermittent, though thoroughly conventional songs are occasionally leavened by notably individual ones, such as, here, her very last and unpublished song, Loreley, which vividly conjures up that dangerous creature, particu lady in the hectic piano part, evocatively played by Ashkenazy. Indeed it seems that Heine most inspired her, as "Sic liebten sich beide" from her Op. 13 provoked a setting of economically intense meaning, to which Bonney finely responds.– Gramophone [9/1997].
Brahms & Schumann: Lieder sees Dame Ann Murray, one of the great vocal artists of the past decades, return to the recording studio to perform a personal selection of Lieder. Brahms & Schumann: Lieder, Ann’s first solo album in over a decade, will be her final Lieder recording and a fitting way to draw her long and distinguished recording career to a close.
The German soprano Elisabeth Schumann was one of the finest lyric sopranos of the 20th Century. She made her professional debut in Hamburg in 1909 and died in 1952, having given her last public concert the previous year. In 1985 the eminent vocal expert Alan Blyth wrote of her: "No artist so endeared herself to her public as Elisabeth Schumann. The charm of her manner is legendary; so is the attraction of her slivery voice and outgiving style. Whether in her operatic portrayals, her Lieder or her operetta offerings, she captivated her audiences."
"…Die Lieder beschreiben den Liebeslebenslauf einer Frau aus ihrem eigenen Blickwinkel: von einer allerersten Begegnung als Jugendliche über die Heirat und Ehe zum Tod ihres Geliebten bis hin zum Überdauern der Liebe über den Tod hinaus. Die kanadische Altistin Marie-Nicole Lemieux (begleitet vom amerikanischen Pianisten Daniel Blumenthal) wird mit ihrer Ausdrucksstärke dem von Schumann aufgebauten Gefühlsspektrum zwischen Freude und Tragik voll und ganz gerecht…"
June 8, 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of robert Schumann, one of the most important romantic composers of the 19th century. To celebrate his vast and impressive output, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca have compiled this 35-CD box set of his most important masterworks. Though this is not a complete edition, it includes every major work and a number of rarities covering every aspect of Schumann's output.
"The song cycles “Kerner-Lieder” op. 35 and Liederkreis op. 39 by Schumann, recorded in 1954-55 for West German Radio, are amongst the foremost examples of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s mastery of the art of Lieder singing. The listener is treated to pioneering interpretations which laid the foundations for these sets of songs to become established in the recital programmes of younger singers. In the case of the “Kerner-Lieder” this may well be the first complete recording. In both recordings Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is heard at the early zenith of his powers as regards both his vocal technique and his crafting of the songs."
This is an excellent and bargan-priced collection of mainly late Schumann, none of which is frequently encountered in the concert hall. With some of the pieces this is with good reason: in the Requiem, and especially the Mass, Schumann's genius flickers barely at all - clearly his heart wasn't in religious music, and the result is dull and worthy, at least by his usual standards. Much better are the delightful secular oratorios, Der Rose Pilgerfahrt and Paradies und die Peri, both of which breathe the sweet springlike air of Romanticism which for most listeners is the true Schumann.