COMPOSERS: Beethoven & Schubert,Gluck,Haydn,Mozart
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Arleen Auger
PERFORMER: Arleen Auger (soprano), Erik Werba (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: C 509 001 B ADD
This live recital, recorded at the Residenz in Salzburg in 1978 and preserved as a broadcast tape by Austrian Radio, is accompanied by the distinguished Erik Werba playing an early piano (variously described in the booklet as a Hammerklavier and a Hammerflügel) by the Viennese maker Anton Walter, whose instruments Mozart is known to have liked. Though its mechanism has the occasional recalcitrant moment, Werba draws from this ancient artefact a wide range of tonal colours. He is in every respect a worthy and equal partner to the fastidious American soprano, the delicate luminosity of whose voice is used exclusively in the service of the notes and texts and never with any suggestion of display.
The combination of player and singer in a wide-ranging and imaginatively selected programme of the main representatives of the Viennese Lieder tradition up to Schubert proves unbeatable. Some of Haydn’s English songs are here, as well as a couple by Mozart in French (Auger is entrancing in ‘Dans un bois solitaire’). Even in familiar repertory such as Schubert’s ‘Heidenröslein’ and ‘Seligkeit’, Auger’s fresh approach renews well-worn material, but it is for reminding us what overlooked treasures there are amongst the songs of his illustrious predecessors that this outstanding collection will be most enjoyed. George Hall