Nightingale – A Tribute to Jenny Lind
Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ‘Italian’; C Schumann: Lieder, Op. 12 Nos 2, 4 & 11; Lorelei; Berg: Sieben frühe Lieder
Elin Rombo (soprano); Västerås Sinfonietta/Simon Crawford-Phillips
db Productions dbCD196 63.51 mins
Jenny Lind’s fine-toned coloratura inspired Hans Christian Anderson’s tale ‘The Nightingale’ – hence her nickname, ‘the Swedish Nightingale’. The 200th anniversary of Lind’s birth is the springboard for this album, a loose collection of scene-setters and might-have-sungs from the Västerås Sinfonietta, with Swedish soprano Elin Rombo the modern-day nightingale.
Rombo has much to offer in this somewhat clashing repertoire of Clara Schumann’s Lieder Op. 12 (Rückert) – earnestly sung – and Alban Berg’s Sieben frühe lieder, which follow directly, included here as repertoire which might have been Lind’s had she been at the height of her career some 20 years after she died in 1887. Tenuous, yes, but it’s evocatively sung, including a setting of Theodor Storm’s ‘Die Nachtigall’.
The songs are prefaced by Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony – given a pithily dynamic, pacey performance from the Västerås, with a few smudged moments – and are rounded off with Andrea Tarrodi’s ethereal version of Anderson’s ‘The Nightingale’, performed in her version for chamber orchestra. No background information on Lind or indeed Lieder texts/translations are offered, but only the scantest introduction to accompany this anniversary tribute. Sarah Urwin Jones