COMPOSERS: Handel,Lieberson & Brahms,Mahler
LABELS: BBC Music
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
WORKS: Rückert-Lieder; add works
PERFORMER: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo-soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCW 1002-2
The major work in Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson’s recital is the five Rückert settings of Mahler, whose orchestrally conceived piano parts are realised by Roger Vignoles. The mezzo’s greatest single strength is a voice of the highest quality, possessing a depth of tone and a richness of colouring that enable her performances to stand comparison with those of Baker or Ferrier. Like those two artists, there’s a rounded humanity to her singing that rises in places to genuine nobility. Her line in ‘Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft’ is perfectly realised, while her vocal breadth and interpretative insight in ‘Um Mitternacht’ present Mahler’s spiritual vision on a grand scale.
There’s a grandeur in her Handel singing too that is inspiring. The almost imperious tones with which she attacks ‘Scherza infida’ (Ariodante) highlight the composer’s ability to convey deep emotion by simple means, while ‘As with rosy steps the morn’ from Theodora is nothing less than a great performance.
We also hear part of a song cycle (incomplete at the time of the recording) by the mezzo’s husband that imaginatively exploits the range of her voice, enclosing it in crystalline piano writing that in itself makes a fine effect. George Hall