Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder; Intermezzo & Closing Scene from Capriccio; Wiegenlied; Morgen

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COMPOSERS: Strauss
LABELS: Chandos Enchant
WORKS: Vier letzte Lieder; Intermezzo & Closing Scene from Capriccio; Wiegenlied; Morgen
PERFORMER: Felicity Lott (soprano); Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 7113 Reissue (1987-93)
These recordings originally appeared as fillers in Neeme Järvi’s cycle of the Strauss tone poems. Collected together, they make a marvellous memento of Felicity Lott’s association with the composer, otherwise all too sparsely documented on disc. Her account of the Four Last Songs – performed in the original order of the first performance, not that of the published score – is one to equal any of the greats – Schwarzkopf, Norman, Janowitz – and Järvi provides a sensitive, warm accompaniment that is certainly better recorded than any of those rivals. Schwarzkopf’s 1966 recording was for many years the benchmark in this work, but one can mark her down for her archness as much as up for her obvious identification with the texts.

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The rest of the songs here are a mixture of the familiar (‘Morgen!’, ‘Ruhe, meine Seele!’) and unfamiliar (‘Der Rosenband’, ‘Des Dichters Abendgang’), while the closing scene of Capriccio finds the silvery voice of this much-loved soprano in one of her most famous roles, recently revived at Glyndebourne. Matthew Rye