COMPOSERS: R Strauss,Wolf
LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
WORKS: Wolf: Möricke-Lieder; Sechs Gedichte von Alte Wiesen etc; R Strauss: Heimliche Aufforderung; Ruhe, meine Seele!; Cäcilie; Mein Herz ist stumm; Meinem Kinde etc
PERFORMER: Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WHLive0040
What a generous communicator is the vivacious Angelika Kirchschlager. Quirky Hugo Wolf suits her rather better than Strauss’s sometimes generic rapture, though she’s splendidly scathing in the often archly delivered ‘Für fünfzehn Pfennige’.
The full extrovert personality seems to unleash the sometimes reticent Roger Vignoles in the first two of Wolf’s six Songs in the Old Style, where in the sequence as a whole, Kirchschlager’s vocal and emotional tonal range is at its finest.
She doesn’t ease herself in lightly: ‘Auf einer Wanderung’ is a big ecstatic number, though Vignoles provides a golden thread through the labyrinth of ‘Im Frühling’. Here, and in the rather masochistic little love-rhapsody encore of ‘Nimmersatte Liebe’, Kirchschlager gives the key words the kick they need (‘love’, ‘hope’, ‘joy’, ‘lament’ – and ‘bit’, for the insatiable kissers).
She may not have the ideal line for the Strauss lovesongs, transposed down a tone or two from the originals, and her breath control sometimes leads her to clip the ends of phrases, but she does bring an old swooner like ‘Cäcilie’ to life by lighting up the text. The equal partnership of voice and piano is warmly assisted by the ideal Wigmore Hall recording. David Nice