Schoenberg; Strauss; Wagner; Wolf; Reger

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COMPOSERS: Schoenberg; Strauss; Wagner; Wolf; Reger
LABELS: NMA
ALBUM TITLE: Erwartung
WORKS: Various songs
PERFORMER: Solveig Kringelborn (soprano); Malcolm Martineau (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 (dist. Discovery)
Erwartung, or Expectation, is very much what this recital is about. Solveig Kringelborn has bided her time before recording Lieder in earnest and, with this intelligently devised programme, expectations are indeed high. Kringelborn speaks of her encounter with Schoenberg’s Vier Lieder, Op. 2 as ‘opening a jewel case’; and it’s very much the sense of wide-eyed wonder within her soprano which illuminates these performances, rather than the angst-tinted sensuality of their Expressionist language. Malcolm Martineau provides energetic brushwork, and he is wonderfully supportive, too, for Kringelborn’s light soprano in the piano-accompanied version of Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder. The air does at times seem a little cool for these tropical blooms. But Kringelborn’s is less the grandiloquent hothouse performance, and more a series of intimate confidings.

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The trolls of her homeland have clearly coached Kringelborn well for her Strauss ‘Junghexenlied’, which is as bewitching as her ‘Leises Lied’ and ‘Befreit’ are seductive with their chaste ecstasy. When it comes to Hugo Wolf’s Mignon, Kringelborn catches perfectly the isolating, other-worldly sadness of this waif-like figure from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, even if she doesn’t quite bring to her performance the searing intensity she so admires in these settings. Three songs by Reger which have indirect Wolfian counterparts cleanse the palette and bring this well-balanced, brightly recorded recital to a satisfying close. Hilary Finch