Wagner, Cornelius, Wolf And Liszt

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COMPOSERS: Cornelius,Wagner,Wolf And Liszt
LABELS: Forlane
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Romantic Lied
WORKS: Wesendonck Lieder; Trauer und Trost
PERFORMER: Margaret Price (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: UCD 16728 DDD
Like London’s recent Deutsche Romantik Festival, this recital looks at the many-faceted manifestations of the Romantic spirit, here within and between four late-Romantic composers. The recording is particularly rewarding not only for its fresh juxtapositioning of repertoire, but because it presents Margaret Price at her most committed and vocally confident. She begins by catching what is perhaps most elusive of all: the mordant nostalgia and raw nerve endings of Hugo Wolf’s writing, as his own Romantic spirit meets the ever more conscious and troubled psyche of the turning century. After six of his settings of the poet Eduard Mörike, Price turns to Peter Cornelius, whose rarely performed little cycle Trauer und Trost (Mourning and Consolation) has had few champions since Lotte Lehmann. Heavy of tread and heavy of heart, it releases wonderfully the darker colours of Price’s soprano.

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Then on to the further harmonic reaches of Romantic longing in Liszt’s late Goethe settings: Price brings to life magnificently both the ardour and the sense of the numinous in the ‘Wanderer’s Nightsongs’ before a glimpse into Wagner’s work-in-progress for Tristan in her long-pondered and deeply assimilated performance of the Wesendonck Lieder. Hilary Finch