Elisabeth Söderström


Elisabeth Söderström

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Marga Hoffgen (alto), Waldemar Kmentt (tenor), Martti Talvela (bass)

New Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Few musical works express man’s metaphysical aspirations more powerfully than Beethoven’s titanic Missa Solemnis. As Otto Klemperer wrote some years before making this recording: “It is enormously difficult to translate into reality a work which doesn’t take reality into account.” He had first conducted the Missa Solemnis in 1927 and it came to define the epic grandeur of his interpretative style.

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Hilde Gueden - Richard Strauss Songs

Hilde Gueden - Richard Strauss Songs

Decca Most Wanted Recitals Vol. 19

Strauss, R:

Einerlei, Op. 69 No. 3

Säusle, Liebe Myrte, Op. 68 No. 3

Der Stern, Op. 69 No. 1

Schlechtes Wetter, Op. 69 No. 5

Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden, Op. 68 No. 2

Als mir dein Lied erklang, Op. 68 No. 4

Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1

Schlagende Herzen Op. 29 No. 2

Heimkehr, Op. 15 No. 5

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3

Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten, Op. 19 No. 4

Meinem Kinde, Op. 37 No. 3

Er ist der Richtige nicht für mich … Aber der Richtige, wenn's einen gibt für mich (from Arabella)

Hilde Gueden (Zdenka), Lisa della Casa (Arabella)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Rudolf Moralt

Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren (from Der Rosenkavalier)

Elisabeth Söderström (Octavian), Hilde Gueden (Sophie)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Silvio Varviso

Mein Gott! Es was nicht mehr als eine Farce (from Der Rosenkavalier)

Régine Crespin (Marschallin), Hilde Gueden (Sophie), Elisabeth Söderström, (Octavian), Heinz Holecek (Faninal)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Silvio Varviso

Hilde Gueden (soprano), Friedrich Gulda (piano)

“Gueden's light, characterful voice shines in near-ideal interpretations, with pianist Friedrich Gulda her top-class pianist.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Live Recording from The Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 1979

Elisabeth Söderström (Leonore/Fidelio), Curt Appelgren (Rocco), Elizabeth Gale (Marzelline), Robert Allman (Don Pizaro) & Anton De Ridder (Florestan)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor) & Peter Hall (stage director)

Sir Peter Hall’s outstanding 1979 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production of Fidelio remains remarkably faithful to the way Beethoven intended the opera to be. The stage directions of the original version – completed in 1814 after two revisions – are followed exactly by Sir Peter Hall. Yet he still manages to inject fresh excitement and suspense into Fidelio with John Bury’s original lighting and design providing a perfect framework for the drama and conflicts that centre on political intrigue and repression.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Don Florestan has been falsely imprisoned for threatening to expose the evils of governor Don Pizarro. While he starves to death with other political prisoners his wife, Leonore tries to find him. She disguises herself as the young man, Fidelio, and wins the confidence of the gaoler, Rocco and his daughter Marzelline.

Elisabeth Söderström portrays the courageous Leonore in such a riveting and outstanding performance that alone is worth the whole show. Elizabeth Gale as Marzelline and Curt Appelgren as Rocco bring this unique production to perfection.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: DE (Original Language), GB, FR, ES

Running Time: 128 mins

FSK: 0

“Haitink conducts a faultless, dynamic account of Fidelio. Fine singing from Söderström, De Ridder and Allman smoothes the wrinkles for Halls' 1979 staging.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 *****

“It is not perfect, but it is pretty close to that...the mono sound, taken from a television transmission, is rather variable...the stage of the old Glyndebourne Opera House is clearly small...What do these cavils matter, in the face of Peter Hall’s masterly production?...[Söderström] is superb, acting as always with total involvement and producing really heroic notes when required” MusicWeb International, 10th July 2013

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Region: 0

Format: NTSC

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Arthaus Musik - 102307

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Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier (highlights)

Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier (highlights)

Régine Crespin (Marschallin), Elisabeth Söderström (Octavian), Heinz Holecek (Faninal), Hilde Gueden (Sophie)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Silvio Varviso

It is a pity that one of the most acclaimed recordings of Rosenkavalier was only recorded as excerpts, but at over an hour, and including some of the absolute plums of scenes from the opera, it is rightly regarded as a gem among great recordings of Strauss’s music. Included are the Marchallin’s Act I monologue, the Presentation of the Rose, and naturally, the trio and final duet.

“impassioned and youthful sounding [Söderström] … sensuous charm exerted by singers … superlative recording … I was nearly consumed by the burning flames of eroticism that Silvio Varviso kindles in the first half of the prelude! ... This is, I am sure, the best recording and performance of the music selected we have had so far” Gramophone Magazine

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Richard Strauss Heroines

Richard Strauss Heroines

Strauss, R:

Er ist der Richtige nicht für mich … Aber der Richtige, wenn's einen gibt für mich (from Arabella)

Lisa della Casa (Arabella) & Hilde Gueden (Zdenka)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker

Es gibt ein Reich (from Ariadne auf Naxos)

Leontyne Price (Ariadne), Barry McDaniel (Harlekin ) & Edita Gruberova (Zerbinetta)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti

Mein Gott! Es was nicht mehr als eine Farce (from Der Rosenkavalier)

Régine Crespin (Marschallin), Hilde Gueden (Sophie), Elisabeth Söderström (Octavian) & Heinz Holeček (Faninal)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Silvio Varviso

Allein. Weh' ganz allein (from Elektra)

Birgit Nilsson (Elektra)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Sir Georg Solti

Wehe, mein Mann! (from Die Frau ohne Schatten)

Leonie Rysanek (Kaiserin) & Judith Hellwig (Stimme des Falken)

Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils

Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

Es ist kein Laut zu vernehmen (from Salome)

Anja Silja (Salome)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Christoph von Dohnányi

It is often said that Richard Strauss had a lifelong love affair with the soprano voice, and it is certainly true that many of his finest operatic roles were written with that voice in mind. In addition, the quality of his writing for sopranos regularly shows their instruments off to maximum advantage. Sopranos have genuine cause to the grateful to him.

Collected here are some of Strauss’s greatest heroines – whether regal (the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier), demented (Salome and Elektra), or crafty (the Empress in Frau ohne Schatten). These highlights feature not only great solo scenes (the final scene of Salome, Elektra’s monologue) but also some sublime ensembles (Arabella, Ariadne auf Naxos, the closing scene of Rosenkavalier). The singers represent some of the leading Strauss sopranos of their day – Della Casa, Guede, Crespin, Söderström, Silja and, of course, Nilsson – as well as some of the great Strauss conductors: Solti, Böhm, Dohnányi. Many of the recordings were made by the Wiener Philharmoniker in one of Decca’s iconic recording venues, the Sofiensaal, over a period of some twenty years

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Elisabeth Söderström: The Russian Songbook

Elisabeth Söderström: The Russian Songbook


The Lane – Five Children’s Songs, Op. 89


The Nursery


The Ugly Duckling, Op. 18


The Cuckoo, Op. 54 No. 8

Evening, Op. 27, No. 4

The Nightingale Op. 60 No. 4

Last Night Op. 60 No. 1

None but the lonely heart, Op. 6 No. 6

Lullaby, Op. 16 No. 1

Otchevo? (Why?), Op. 6 No. 5

Strashnaya minuta (The Fearful Moment), Op. 28 No. 6

Den' li tsarit? (Does the day reign?), Op. 47 No. 6

Spring, Op 54 No. 9

Simple Words, Op. 60, No. 5

Mezza notte

Sérénade, Op. 65 No. 1

Déception, Op. 65 No. 2

Qu'importe que l'hiver, Op. 65 No. 4

Les Larmes, Op. 65 No. 5

Zakatilos solntse (The sun has set), Op. 73 No. 4

Kak nad goratcheïou zoloï, Op. 25 No. 2

Moy geni, moy angel, moy drug (My genius, my angel, my friend)

Pesn' Zemfiri (Zemfira's song)

Do not believe, my friend Op. 6 No. 1

Zabït tak skoro (So soon forgotten)

Oh! Chante Encore!, Op.16 No.4

Spirit my heart away

Why did I dream of you?, Op. 28 No. 3

To bilo ranneyu vesnoy (It happened in the early spring), Op. 38 No. 2

Sred' shumnogo bala (Amid the din of the ball), Op. 38 No. 3

If only I had known, Op.47, No.1

Was I not a blade of grass?, Op. 47 No. 7

My little garden, Op. 54 No. 4

Do not ask, Op. 57 No. 3

This, our first reunion, Op. 63 No. 4

O ditya, pod okoshkom tvoim (Serenade), Op. 63 No. 6

Rondel, Op. 65 No. 6

We sat with you, Op. 73 No. 1

Behind the window, Op 60 No. 10

Elisabeth Söderström was a born storyteller. She told stories not just in music, but also peppered her recitals on stage with tales and anecdotes. It made her a perfect interpreter for the collection of children’s songs by Mussorgsky, Prokofiev and Gretchaninov she recorded with Vladimir Ashkenazy in 1977–78 which appear on CD2 of this set, the first (LP) issue greeted with enthusiasm by Gramophone reviewer W.S.M. with the words ‘the best record of song to appear in 1979’. It later went on to win the 1979 Gramophone’s Solo Vocal Award. But there was more: a selection of Tchaikovsky songs over two LPs; a substantial survey of the Rachmaninov songs (‘one of the gramophone’s crown jewels’ wrote John Steane in Gramophone) as well as the complete Sibelius songs.

Born in Stockholm on 7 May 1927 to a Russian mother and Swedish father, Söderström she was a talented recitalist, as much in demand in the concert hall as she was in the opera theatre. From 1991–96 she also directed the Drottingholm Festival Opera with much success. The two LPs of Tchaikovsky songs were issued in part by Decca on CD and this is their first complete release in this format. Overshadowed by his orchestral works, they are nonetheless absolute gems, with their piano parts of almost orchestral scope. Ashkenazy’s is, too, the disembodied voice that speaks a few of Pushkin’s lines in the early setting of Zemfira's song.

‘Söderström came to be known internationally in the late 1950s,’ wrote John Steane, ‘and over the next three decades, on until her retirement from singing in the early 1990s she never “blotted her copybook”. She neither sought nor won cheap success.’ Söderström passed away in Stockholm on 20 November 2009, aged 82, from complications from a stroke.

This release marks the launch of an Eloquence series of notable recitals of songs and opera arias by some of the great voices of Decca and Deutsche Grammophon.

“brilliant … endearing … musicianly” Gramophone Magazine (Songs for Children)

“The Maikov Lullaby is enchantingly done, especially with the gentle wash of piano tone in the background from Ashkenazy … a delightful, excellently recorded recital of some songs which we know too little … Tchaikovsky wrote some exquisite songs; and it is splendid to have them being explored so skilfully, intelligently and sensitively” Gramophone Magazine (Tchaikovsky Songs)

Australian Eloquence Vocal Recitals - ELQ4802067

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Janácek - Vec Makropulos

Janácek - Vec Makropulos


The Makropulos Case

(Vec Makropulos)

Elisabeth Söderström, Petr Dvorský, Vladimir Krejcik, Anna Czaková, Václav Zítek, Zdenek Svehla, Dalibor Jedlicka, Jirí Joran, Ivana Mixová, Beno Blachut & Blanka Vitková

Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker, Sir Charles Mackerras

Lachian Dances

London Philharmonic Orchestra, François Huybrechts

“For those wanting a Czech-language performance of Janácek's opera of mortality, Mackerras's 1978 account, led by the intelligently conceived Emilia Marty of Elisabeth Söderström, and with the Vienna Philharmonic on resplendent form, retains the palm.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 ****

Decca - Originals - 4781711

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Britten: War Requiem & Bliss: Morning Heroes

Britten: War Requiem & Bliss: Morning Heroes


Morning Heroes

A symphony for orator, chorus and orchestra

John Westbrook (orator)

Liverpool Philharmonic Choir & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves


War Requiem, Op. 66

Words from the Missa pro defunctis; poems by Wilfred Owen

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Robert Tear (tenor) & Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Boys of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Warner Classics British Composers - 5059092

(CD - 2 discs)


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Janacek: Jenufa

Janacek: Jenufa

Elisabeth Söderström (Jenufa), Wieslav Ochman (Laca), Eva Randová (Kostelnicka), Petr Dvorsky (Steva), Lucia Popp (Karolka), Marie Mrázová (Stařenka Buryjovka), Václav Zitek (Mill Foreman), Dalibor Jedlicka (Mayor), Ivana Mixová (Mayor's Wife), Vera Soukupová (Herdswoman), Jindra Pokorná (Barena), Jana Jonásová (Jano)

Wiener Philharmoniker & Wiener Staatsopernchor, Sir Charles Mackerras

Recorded: Sofiensaal, Vienna, April 1982

“Despite stiff competition this vividly dramatic reading of the original score, the superb playing and Söderström's heart-breaking heroine confirm this is still the finest incarnation of Janácek's pastoral tragedy.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 *****

“Janácek's first operatic masterpiece is a towering work, blending searing intensity with heart-stopping lyricism.
It tells of Jenufa and the appalling treatment she receives as she's caught between the man she loves and another who finally comes to love her. But dominating the story is the Kostelnicka, a figure of enormous strength, pride and inner resource who rules Jenufa's life and ultimately kills her baby. Randová's characterisation of the role of the Kostelnicka is frightening in its intensity yet has a very human core. The two men are well cast and act as fine foils to Söderström's deeply impressive Jenufa. The Vienna Philharmonic plays beautifully and Mackerras directs magnificently. The recording is all one could wish for and the booklet is a mine of informed scholarship.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Decca - Originals - 4758227

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Chopin: Songs

Chopin: Songs


Zyczenie (The Maiden's Wish), Op. 74 No. 1

Wiosna (Spring), Op. 74 No. 2

Smutna rzeka (The Sad River), Op. 74 No. 3

Hulanka (Merrymaking), Op. 74 No. 4

Gdzie lubi (What She Likes), Op. 74 No. 5

Precz z moich oczu (Out of My Sight!), op. 74 No. 6

Posel (The Messenger), Op. 74 No. 7

Sliczny chlopiec (Handsome Lad), Op. 74 No. 8

Melodia (Melody), Op. 74 No. 9

Wojak (The Warrior), Op. 74 No. 10

Dwojaki koniec (The Double End), Op. 74 No. 11

Moja pieszczotka (My Sweetheart), Op. 74 No. 12

Nie ma czego trzeba (I Want What I Have Not), Op. 74 No. 13

Pierscien (The Ring), Op. 74 No. 14

Narzeczony (The Bridegroom), Op. 74 No. 15

Piosnka litewska (Lithuanian Song), Op. 74 No. 16

Spiew z mogilky (Leaves Are Falling), Op. 74 No. 17

Czary (Charms), KK.IVa/11

Dumka (Reverie), KK.IVb/9

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Decca - 4142042

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