Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|R. Strauss, Isokoski, Janowski|
Four Last Songs / Orchestral Songs
Genres: Pop, Classical
Strauss songs with orchestra, especially his final masterpiece, the Four Last Songs, have fared well in recordings, with compelling versions by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Lisa Della Casa, Jessye Norman, Gundula Janowitz, and o... more »
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Strauss songs with orchestra, especially his final masterpiece, the Four Last Songs, have fared well in recordings, with compelling versions by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Lisa Della Casa, Jessye Norman, Gundula Janowitz, and others of their caliber. But the Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski yields nothing to her distinguished predecessors. For some sopranos, Strauss's soaring melodies invite lingering tempos and arch interpretations that dwell on individual words and syllables, breaking the composer's long lines. Not here. Isokoski's sunlit voice and stunning legato illuminate music and text with restrained feeling. The Four Last Songs are taken at a perfect tempo, slow enough to let their message sink in, fast enough to let the music flow unimpeded. It's a lesson in the artfulness of simplicity, where less tinkering with the music equals more profundity and pleasure. The 11 other songs on the disc are as good, and while the quality of songs and singing is high throughout, it's hard to rid the memory of Isokoski's renditions of "Wiegenlied" and "Morgen!" once you hear them. But the same may be said of "Die heiligen drei Könige aus Morgenland" or "Befriet," among others. A disc to treasure. --Dan Davis
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BEST 4 Last Songs in 21st century
Wenarto Candra | seattle | 09/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have most of 4 last song recordings: te kanawa, norman, schwarzkopf, fleming, janowitz, della casa, auger; although there were great recordings (according to the experts) - but I believe; this is ONE of the best; the more I listen to this one, the more I am convinced that Soile and Marek are great team and express more sensible and sensitive feeling to the songs. Super highly recommended."
The Shock of the Old Being Reinvented Anew
Pater Ecstaticus | Norway | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The right kind of voice can make you fall in love - - and see the world in a new light... It happened to me for real once. And now it did again, sort of. This whole album sounds - as it always should, maybe, but which it so seldomly does - as if these songs, one after the other, are being reinvented, being recreated by Soile Isokoski! And the stunning playing of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Marek Janowski are the ideal accompaniment for Soile Isokoski's singing, which is velvety but at the same time clear like a bell and with a full and ringing high. From the gentlest pianissimo's to the greatest fortissimo's Soile Isokoski's voice just soars, with the orchestra always the equal of and supportive to the soprano's art, which is simply magnificent. Her art displays a deep understanding of and a complete familiarity with the words she is singing, combined with the clearest diction. The same clearness and freshness, combined with a deep richness and colorfulness of sound, is displayed in the playing of the orchestra, so it all fits together wonderfully!
This must be one of the best Strauss Lieder albums ever to have emerged and TMHO it can hold pride of place beside the great Schwarzkopf/Szell album. If Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is the queen, then Soile Isokoski must surely be the crown princess."
Soile Isokoski shines in Strauss
Nora | 08/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The glory of this CD is the Four Last Songs, but the rest of the recordings are wonderful as well. It nicely mixes the often recorded (Zueignung) with the somewhat rarer, meaning that repertoire isn't just replicated.
Isokoski has a wonderful voice for Strauss; it resembles Janowitz in several aspects, not as solid or truly dramatic as Norman or Voight, but richer than Schwartzkopf. Throughout she sings without affectation, letting the accuracy of phrasing and command of line speak for her. She is assisted admirably in this by Janowski's conducting, which is well-described as 'transparent'. The Strauss textures which become thick and muddy in some hands are here allowed to breathe, so that all the lines can be heard.
The first thing noticed about the Four Last Songs is how comparatively fast they are in parts, especially the first one. But comparatively fast does not mean rushed, and the quicker tempi remove the veneer of sentimentality which has accumulated on these songs. Listening to that opening sweep in the orchestra as the voice comes in low, it's hard to imagine going back.
This is an ideal CD for a Strauss beginner, and any lover of the Four Last Songs or operatic/vocal Strauss must get this."