LABELS: RCA Red Seal
WORKS: Fischerweise; Im Abendrot; Nacht und Träume; Ständchen
PERFORMER: Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo-soprano), Friedrich Haider (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68763 2
Those who enjoyed Vesselina Kasarova’s discs of Mozart and Rossini arias last year, and who have been eagerly following the operatic career of this highly intelligent Bulgarian with her burnished mezzo-soprano, will be intrigued to discover what she makes of Lieder. Kasarova claims to have become hooked on German Romantic song as a student. And her recent and outstanding Sesto in La clemenza di Tito at Covent Garden showed with just what intensity and insight she can invest a melodic line.
This recital is not for the faint-hearted. Kasarova leaps into the turbulent waters of Schubert’s ‘Fischerweise’, full of the excitement of the catch, capturing the shifting colours and lights of the water and, in vigorously delineated rhythms, recreating every second of its Lebenslust. For the songs of night and of spring, she senses Schubert’s breathless, youthful ardour in word-setting. But her sometimes idiosyncratic and over-careful German does tend to make the line a little choppy at times; and her very expressive eagerness can, ironically, weaken the song’s momentum as she underlines or overpoints a syllable or a cadence. This, together with Friedrich Haider’s somewhat on-the-surface accompanying, can compromise the intensity of her otherwise graphic and heartfelt Brahms and Schumann. Hilary Finch