“It's hard to dispute Roger Vignoles's claim that Anne Schwanewilms is "a great singing actress". That's clear in every song, where both the overall tinta and the text have not just been scrupulously attended to in the head but are excitingly delivered with the heart.”
“Not even Felicity Lott with Graham Johnson can match Anne Schwanewilms and Roger Vignoles here in the Drei Lieder der Ophelia … By any yardstick this is magnificent singing, with Schwanewilms always alert to the dramatic potential in so many of Strauss’s songs … Again you admire the effortless partnership between the two musicians, each, it seems, hanging on the other’s last word and always raising the musical bar. This second volume of the Complete Strauss songs suggests we are at the start of another remarkable Hyperion journey.”
“Not just for Salome did Strauss demand several voices in one: here he ranges from the ditzy skitterings of the Ophelia Songs via the full-on operatic scena that is the Schwarzkopf favourite Blindenklage to the wandering tonalities of Owärst du mein!, not to mention the tricky characterisation of Ach, was Kummer (with its repeated 'hm, hm') and the naive playfulness of SchlagendeHerzen. It's hard to dispute Roger Vignoles's claim that Anne Schwanewilms is 'a great singing actress'. That's clear in every song, where both the overall tinta and the text have not just been scrupulously attended to in the head but are excitingly delivered with the heart. The occasional price to pay is in pitching (coming onto a note from above) and in vocal agility – this is a large voice and it can move through its gears quite slowly – but it's of little significance given the repertoire, the live nature of the takes for which Hyperion opted, and the sheer intensity of the singing. Schwanewilms achieves the full compass of the testing items noted, finds an appropriately rich skein of tone for In goldener Fulle and manages real affection – and a degree of playfulness – in Wiegenliedchen. There's a real experience here, knowingly and profoundly communicated. Vignoles is, as always, an equal and fully 'worked-in' team member. As well as being an impressive achievement in itself, this recital is a timely addition to a catalogue currently rather short of female competition in these songs.”
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