R. Strauss: Complete songs, Vol.3: 6 Lieder, Op.17; 5 Lieder, Op.32; selections from Opp. 10, 19, 21, 27, 35 & 48.

COMPOSERS: R. Strauss
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: R. Strauss
WORKS: Complete songs, Vol.3: 6 Lieder, Op.17; 5 Lieder, Op.32; selections from Opp. 10, 19, 21, 27, 35 & 48.
PERFORMER: Andrew Kennedy (tenor), Roger Vignoles (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67602
After Christine Brewer and Anne Schwanewilms in Roger Vignoles’s Hyperion series, here at last is a tenor for Richard Strauss. The composer may have had a love affair with the with the soprano voice but, eventually, a male persona has to voice his very male love. Andrew Kennedy is an eager, bright-eyed lover: the bloom and the tenderness of the middle range of his voice, in particular, know just how to bring a luxuriant, Straussian intimacy to a song such as ‘Seitdem dein Aug in meines Schaute.’ Kennedy seems to bond particularly well, too, with Strauss’s songs of sadness: the indeterminate harmonies and half-lights of ‘Aus den liedern der Trauer’ (from Op.17), and the stark ardour of ‘sehnsucht’ (Op.32) are impressive. I do have a problem with the technical production of the top of Kennedy’s tenor. Pinched vowels resonate only shrilly, and can cope only with fortissimo. The more subtle shifts of tenderness and humour, and the real sense of hushed anticipation and Straussian ecstasy escape Kennedy as yet. But, just as the songs are a microcosm of the operas to come, so this recital shows glimpses of a future operatic Strassian to watch out for.

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