Richard Strauss

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Richard Strauss
LABELS: Orchid Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Through Life and Love
WORKS: Lieder including Nichts, Leises Lied, Das Rosenband, Ich Schwebe, Nachtgang, Einerlei, Die Nacht, etc
PERFORMER: Louise Alder (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ORC 100072
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Personal pride first: I was part of the Glyndebourne Study Day when Louise Alder made her professional Strauss debut, singing in the Presentation of the Rose and the Trio along with two other covers for Richard Jones’s production of Der Rosenkavalier. We’re lucky that Orchid Classics in conjunction with Benjamin Herbert Violins Ltd caught a lyric soprano so close to the beginning of her career. And they’re lucky, too, that this coincided with her Audience Prize Award at the 2017 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

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Alder can do it all, and there are already plenty of colours in the voice. Try one of the later Strauss songs, ‘Einerlei’, for bloom, range and soaring. And for long phrasing born of perfect breath control as well as secret rapture, ‘Waldeseligkeit’ is the one to sample. Joseph Middleton’s most delicate of pianissimos are a wonder, though he doesn’t always have to be so discreet – ‘Befreit’ could be bigger, and Alder makes it the climax of the disc. But these, and the slight wish that there were more of the Straussian strange here, like the Three Ophelia Songs, are small niggles given such a radiant debut. Black mark to Orchid, though, for providing neither texts nor opus numbers.

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David Nice