COMPOSERS: Schumann/Clara Schumann
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: 12 Kerner Lieder, Op. 35; Minnespiele (excerpts); Liebesfrühling (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto), Inger Södergren (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61798 2
Stutzmann has a subterranean plum of a contralto voice which she colours and shapes with great artistry and thoughtful musical intelligence. In this her third volume of Schumann songs Stutzmann is accompanied by the Swedish pianist Södergren, who makes an excellent partner, highly attuned to Stutzmann’s intentions. The choice of material is enthralling and includes three songs by Clara Schumann among ten of the Rückert settings, Op. 37, the twelve Kerner settings, Op. 35 and the four solo songs from Minnespiele, Op. 101.
The Kerner Lieder, with Stutzmann’s impetus of vibrant sound and delivery in ‘Wanderlied’ and ‘Wanderung’ contrasting with her lustrous but ethereal quality in ‘Wer machte dich so krank?’ and ‘Alte Laute’, are superb. ‘Stille Tränen’ is profoundly moving. In the Op. 37 Rückert Lieder Stutzmann reveals her highly developed ability to convey emotional and musical intensity and still achieve a lightness of touch whenever necessary. Clara’s glorious setting of ‘Liebst du um Schönheit’ is exquisitely paced and Robert’s settings of ‘Ich hab’ in mich gesogen’ and ‘Flügel! Flügel!’ are full of character and disarming intensity. The Rückert Minnespiele settings close this radiant sweep of a startlingly unique voice through a superbly rewarding Schumann recital. Elise McDougall