Strauss, Duparc, Berg and Poulenc

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COMPOSERS: Berg and Poulenc,Duparc,Strauss
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Sine Bundgaard
WORKS: Songs and arias
PERFORMER: Sine Bundgaard, Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Matthias Pintscher
CATALOGUE NO: 586 5002
Sine Bundgaard, the young lyric coloratura soprano from Copenhagen, has already made her mark on London’s Wigmore Hall audiences; and this, the latest in EMI’s invaluable debut series, presents her visiting card with the name Zerbinetta centrally inscribed.

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The role, which has been important in Bundgaard’s still developing career, is represented by the recitative and aria ‘Grossmächtige Prinzessin… Noch glaub’ ich’ from Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and it reveals her soft-focus soprano, with its pleasing childlike timbre. The aria lacks a little lustre; and seven of Strauss’s orchestral songs that precede it tend to be a little expressively reticent as yet. But ‘Amor’ laughs prettily enough and ‘Meinem Kinde’ is sung, disarmingly, almost as one child to another.

Bundgaard comes into her own in the French repertoire. The orchestral version of Duparc’s ‘Chanson triste’ uncovers the half-lights and the dark fervour already growing within her soprano. And Poulenc’s nostalgic little Cocteau scène, ‘La Dame de Monte-Carlo’, written just two years before the composer’s death, evokes eloquently the opium haze of those heady days of the 1920s.

The Seven Early Songs of Berg need a wider palette of colour and timbre, and more discriminating orchestral accompanying than the Danish Radio Sinfonietta provides here. But Bundgaard’s sense of wide-eyed wonder opens the heart of these youthful songs.

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As ever with this series, the absence of both song texts and notes seems to me an unfair and false economy. Hilary Finch