“Anne Schwanewilms, already well-known as an interpreter of Arabella and other Strauss heroines, challenges the likes of Della Casa, Schwarzkopf and Janowitz, and isn't put in the shade by the comparison. Her silvery tone soars easily into the grateful lines of these warm, glowing songs, and she has the gift to fine down her tone to ravishing pianissimi. She catches the rich-hued character of Waldseligkeit, the intimacy of Wiegenlied and Meinem Kinde, the sad serenity of Morgen and the inner intensity of Befreit, one of Strauss's most profound settings. Just once or twice her approach seems a shade self-regarding but, by and large, these are nearideal readings, securely supported by Mark Elder and his orchestra. This is the latest in the series of recordings emanating from the Hallé and does much to confirm their high place in this country's orchestral hierarchy today. There are many masterly accounts of Don Juan in the catalogue but this one, nicely timed and richly played, is up among the best. By comparison Macbeth, Strauss's first tone-poem and written a year earlier, seems rather an empty piece, successful neither as an evocation of the play nor as a piece in its own right. Elder and the Hallé make as good a case as they can for it and – as a whole – the programme works well, the Lieder sandwiched between the two orchestral works.”
“Fans of the Hallé will be delighted with Mark Elder's intense but spacious accounts of the tone poems here… Schwanewilms often begins with lines of instrumental purity, beautifully attuned to Elder's careful orchestral detail, before negotiating a surge of human emotion of a change of colour: the move to the minor key in 'Wiegenlied' and the recitative while the orchestra holds its breath in 'Morgen'! are especially telling.”
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