Follow the Lieder...
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 02/28/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in 2000, countertenor David Daniels took a breather from his beloved Handel arias for a recording of sheer beauty and most often tranquility, all the more surprising given the wide variety of tempos and international breadth of the program spanning five centuries. German lieder from Beethoven and Schubert sits alongside Italian baroque songs followed by alternating French and English art songs. Reflecting his consummate musical taste, the twenty-two selections require him to sing in four different languages, and this South Carolina-born and -bred singer handles the daunting task with complete ease.
The result is a seamless recital, and the disc flows like an unfolding dream starting with Beethoven's enchanting "Adelaide". Schubert's "Naucht and Traume" highlights the purity of his tone and is as perfectly performed as any of his most moving opera arias. The Gounod pieces, especially "L'Absent" and the title track, have a sonorous quality that feel very much like lullabies, the sole exception being the lively "Ou voulez-vous aller?". Poulenc's "La belle Jeunesse" continues along this vein, a whirling dervish of a number referred in the accompanying booklet as an "invitation to debauchery". But these tracks are more the exception as Daniels achieves a lovely sense of vocal beatitude throughout.
The standout tracks have to be the three beautiful and somewhat more contemporary-sounding Vaughan Williams songs capped off by "Hands, eyes and heart", short and poignant, it is my favorite moment on this recording. The Renaissance-era Purcell selections provide the appropriate ending though, in particular, "Evening Hymn" sparked by the growing melismas on the hallelujahs. Whether he exhibits an astounding vibrato or the purest of tones, the man knows how to use his incredibly flexible voice and apply it intelligently to each song. Martin Katz accompanies with great precision and completely recognizes the individual style each song requires. It makes for a perfect pairing between singer and piano. This is a recording to treasure."
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 10/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"GREAT CHOICE OF SONGS; BUT THE 'DOGSTAR' WINS THE PRIZE!
This recording is surely one of the best of David Daniel's efforts to break out of the repertoire of many countertenors (Chance and Scholl excluded) who never seem to be able to leave the Baroque Era. Daniels, however, frequently does this, in most cases very successfully - some for the better, some for the worse. I personally think that one of his BEST efforts is the 2003 Berlioz 'Les Nuits D'Ete' which I prefer to many other singers (non-falsetto) that I have heard.
Some of the songs on this disc that are particularly compatible with his voice are: Schubert's 'Nacht und Traume' which he dellivers with an unruffled legato; Beethoven's 'Adelaide' (love this one) which requires a nimble voice; Vaughan Williams songs he renders with clear and precise vowel sounds( my favorite being 'Linden Lea'. He does equally well with the solid technique requred by Poulenc's 'La belle Jeunesse'. In Purcell's 'I'll Sail Upon the Dogstar' his vocal flexibility as he sings at 'breakneck' speed is revealed in all its glory - nothing short of magnificent!
A minor criticism is that he is much more convincing in German, English and Italian, than he is in French, but I think that he is less familiar perhaps with the peculiarities of the 'chanson' style.
Be that as it may, overall we are listening to a beautiful voice, used intelligently, with vibrato when needed and with more purity at other times, and all of this gives the listener much satisfaction.
Martin Katz, acquits himself well displaying his considerable skill as the accompanist. There are adequate liner notes and the songs are translated according to the need, but the entire text is included. This is a re-mastering at a slightly cheaper 'base'price"