“This is an unusual and wholly absorbing recital by a soprano often, mistakenly, considered no more than a singer with a lovely voice. In 1972, at the height of her appreciable powers, Janowitz impressed her Salzburg audience with this, her first recital at the Festival. Her discerning choice comprises some notable songs by Schubert rarely heard in recital and ones by his contemporary Hüttenbrenner, which Janowitz sang from manuscript copies, seldom performed since the composer's day. These are surely their first recordings.
Has there ever been such a lovely, poised account of the great Schiller-inspired song, DieGötter Griechenlands or such an ingratiating one of Sehnsucht, the Mayrhofer setting? The first offering, Im Freien, has its winning cantilena filled with gloriously sustained, long-breathed tone. The programme ends with Einsamkeit.
This grandly imaginative if slightly impersonal quasi-cantata, to a Mayrhofer text, a composition that Schubert himself thought so highly of, is a kind of a panorama of a life, ending in a wonderfully reposeful final section. Janowitz and her impressive partner perform it with total conviction, sustaining interest throughout.
Although not in Schubert's class – who is? – Hüttenbrenner reveals a talent apparently well able to encompass the meaning of poems in fluent and often imaginative writing. Orfeo provide no texts, let alone translations, but the delightful Spinnerlied must be about spinning: it's an artlessly charming song. Der Hügel is obviously about more serious matters, and in its sad course comes closes to Schubert in depth of feeling.
Frühlingsliedchen has a simple, spring-like joy to it, and an appealingly varied, strophic form. Janowitz takes the measure of them all, and adds to a gently vibrant tone many tints and touches of half-voice.
They could not have a better advocate.
The recording catches the full glow of the singer's voice. The only drawback, that absence of texts, isn't serious enough to stop acquiring this issue, given that Janowitz virtually tells you in her utterance what the songs are about.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010