COMPOSERS: Schubert; Mahler; Strauss
LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
ALBUM TITLE: Various
WORKS: Various songs
PERFORMER: Margaret Price (soprano); Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8
In 1987, at the age of 46, Margaret Price made her long overdue debut at the Wigmore Hall. She lived much of her life in Munich, and this Lieder recital shows her deep sympathy with German music, literature and language. It also reveals – for those who may not have heard it at first hand – that unique soprano: warm and steady with the ballast of a mezzo at its core, and sky-blue radiant at the top of the register. The fusion of dark and light, melancholy and joy, makes her Mahler particularly special. Here, the force of sadness is miraculously integrated with the high beauty of the voice, suspended in the far distance for ‘Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen’. Geoffrey Parsons, accompanying, answers with no less meticulously judged tones of voice and pacing. And Price’s instinctive lilt within word and phrase deliciously animates ‘Rheinlegendchen’.
Schubert and Strauss frame the Mahler. Price’s Schubert moves from the sad nobility of ‘Der König in Thule’ to a thrilling crescendo of passion for ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’. Her Strauss songs are daringly high voltage. In ‘Cäcile’ and ‘Zueignung’ she gives her all, no holds barred. It is Price’s sheer generosity of spirit, mind and voice which make these five-star performances. Hilary Finch