Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg|
Anne Sofie von Otter - The Artist's Album
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
Izolda | North Haven, CT United States | 04/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my review of "The Artist's Album/Anne Sofie von Otter" I said that this CD is a collection of samples from various von Otter's recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, but we do not know who stands behind this selection. It turns out that some copies of this album have a sticker informing that the CD contains Anne Sofie von Otter's favorite tracks. For some music lovers it may be a minor detail, but for the artist's fans it is quite an important information. In this light, "The Artist's Album" is no longer a "sampler", but a carefully made selection of the artist's favorites. I still do not understand why the sticker appears only on certain copies (I made a little research in 3 greatest CD shops in New York) or rather why this piece of information isn't put in a more "permanent" form, as a statement from the artist etc. If you find this problem trivial, please forgive me this note, however, if we are getting "The Artist's Album", we may as well want to know to what extend the artist was involved in selecting fragments of her recordings for this release. If it was a personal choice of Anne Sofie von Otter, I am surprised that there is not a single track from one of her most wonderful discs, Berlioz's "Nuits d'ete" (she also recorded - together with other soloists - a disc with Berlioz's "Melodies"). We remember her as the most moving Marguerite in the recent DG "Damnation of Faust" under Myung-Whun Chung (earlier also under Gardiner for "Philips"), but there is not a trace of Berlioz on the 'Artist's Album" (it may have been too late to include fragments from the Chung disc). If you discover Anne Sofie von Otter through her "Artist's album" and you start collecting her recordings, do not forget about her Berlioz. (Her Dido in Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" with Trevor Pinnock is another great creation omitted in the "Album")."
Amazing versatility and unparalleled emotion
R. Ley | Aptos, CA USA | 02/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, so I own almost everything she's done. I am particularly fond of songs/lieder and, having listened to a great number of both male and female song singers, I can find no singer in the same universe. The intelligence of her approach, the control of her vocal color and vibrato to match the notes and lyrics, the playfulness with which she approaches the music are without equal.
This is an interesting disc and I didn't buy it until recently since I already had a lot of it and prefer songs to arias. But it was quite a revelation. The Handel and Weill are wonderful. For something completely different, try the Delage "Lahore" Track 12. Eerie and beautiful.
If Track #11, Skogen Sover, doesn't make you cry you have no heart. It may be the most beautiful use of the human voice I've ever heard. Listen carefully to the way she changes vowel sounds in the word 'juninatt' throwing in the 'n' both times so you barely hear it and it doesn't disrupt the vowel color change. At the end, turn up the volume and listen to her fade out with no vibrato until she's barely audible, then add just a touch of vibrato as she finishes with the final 't' of 'juninatt'.
There may be better aria singers, with some voices better for some types of opera. But this woman's incredible versatility is well-reflected here and a delight to listen to. Even a Rossini at the end, gynmastics and all. Has there ever been a singer with a wider repertoire matched with such gorgeous emotion? Now, if we could only get the UK version of this disc, with more and different offerings, here on Amazon USA...
A great intro to this powerful, emotional singer. Take it as a starter and buy the full discs that have the tracks you like best. You'll be captivated and not disappointed."
Izolda | North Haven, CT United States | 03/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am rating this CD that high not because it really deserves 5 stars but simply to counterbalance the low rating given by an anonymous reviewer below (his is not a review, but a judgement with no substance). Anne Sofie von Otter's "Artist's Album" is not for those who already have most of her recordings, since only 2 tracks on this CD are new (Kurt Weill's "Berlin im Licht" and a Rossinian "rarity" from von Otter, "Nacqui all'affanno", recorded live in 1986). These two tracks may be, however, interesting to her most devoted fans. I do not know if other CDs in the Deutsche Grammophone series "Artist's Album" similarly consist of previously released tracks, but it is probably not music itself but artists' pictures that are supposed to attract fans. If you care for pictures, then never mind the music, which you probably already have in separate releases. The selection of photographs is not really so generous, but interesting. There is an essay by a Swedish journalist and a short interview with von Otter's accompanist and friend Bengt Forsberg ("Everything you always wanted to know about Anne Sofie von Otter"), both translated into French and German. The remaining 28 (of 56) pages of the booklet are filled with texts of sung works, here only with English translations. It is an inexcusable waste! First of all, do we need texts in such a sampler-type release? If so, why haven't they been more economically compressed and the remaining space devoted to more pictures or more information on the artist? Some pictures have been published before, mostly in booklets accompanying von Otter's CDs, but still many of them, especially from the artist's family archive, are new. And, considering Anne Sofie von Otter's reticence (which I value a lot), there is just a right amount of them. I do not like samplers and this CD certainly is a sampler containing selections from almost all her Deutsche Grammophone discs. If we had been told, that these are the artist's favorite tracks, this sampler would be of much more value. But we do not know who stands behind this selection and that is why - apart from its picture album part - it is a flawed release. Of course, there are always music fans who need this kind of survey that helps them get started, but in most cases such samplers are mid or budget-price discs. And this one is a full price release! Is this price justified by the booklet? It's not to me to judge this problem, but if the booklet was intended as the main attraction, it should have been more generously filled if not with pictures, then at least with press reviews and clippings etc. The thickness of the album is quite misleading since almost 50% of the book contains sometimes half empty pages with texts. To sum up: a good starter for anybody wanting a guide through Anne Sofie's Deutsche Grammophone (exclusively!) releases and for her die-hard fans worth the full price for the photographs and two new tracks. But, if I may say so, she is always WORTH the full price! What a wonderful and intelligent singer!"