Erich Korngold is perhaps best known as the pioneering émigré composer whose grand orchestral scores defined the sound of film during the golden age of Hollywood.As well as this however, his considerably large output for voice in the form of lieder and song highlighted the strong bond that Korngold forever held with his homeland and the city of Vienna, the city inextricably linked to the high-Romantic style that Korngold so ably perfected.This disc continues the successful, long-running collaboration between Signum and the pianist and broadcaster Iain Burnside, as well as being our second disc with star opera singer and recitalist Sarah Connolly.
“There have been several discs of Korngold's Lieder… but this new collection is exceptionally well performed and recorded. The Four Shakespeare Songs, Op 31, are particularly engaging, William Dazeley really letting go in "When birds do sing", and Sarah Connolly bringing all her artistry to bear on Desdemona's Willow song. Iain Burnside plays Korngold's often fiercely difficult accompaniments with obvious affection and relish. This is a very beautiful disc which I would recommend even to those who think they don't care for Korngold's style.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009
“Both singers respond magnificently to Korngold's testing vocal lines, with their wide leaps and need for solid legato. Connolly's rich mezzo comes into its own here, the opening lines of 'Mond, so gehst du wieder auf' a case in point. Iain Burnside accompanies with his customary insight.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2009 ****
“Those for whom Korngold's music is an acquired taste may not feel the need for another CD, but this new collection is exceptionally well performed and recorded. The mixture of songs in German and English works very well, and having two voices sharing them in some groups means that any sense of monotony is avoided.
As in his operas and film scores, one can hear Korngold drawing on different influences – there are a couple of songs that seem like affectionate parodies of Mahler, others in which he is moving away from his Viennese roots and assimilating American and English styles. The Four ShakespeareSongs, Op 31, are particularly engaging, William Dazeley really letting go in 'When birds do sing', and Sarah Connolly bringing all her artistry to bear on Desdemona's Willow Song.
Both singers are sometimes stretched to the limits of their resources, especially in Korngold's songs composed after the disappointing reception accorded to his 'gargantuan' opera Das Wunderder Heliane. The first of the Drei Lieder, Op 18, is a setting of a poem by Hans Kaltneker (author of Heliane), 'In meine innige Nacht', which Dazeley sings with great intensity. Korngold's last song, 'Sonnett für Wien' (which gives the disc its title) is another, posthumously published, poem by Kaltneker. In this song, one feels that Korngold was bidding farewell not only to Vienna, the city of his youthful success, but to music and life itself.
Iain Burnside plays Korngold's often fiercely difficult accompaniments with obvious affection and relish. This is a very beautiful disc, recommended even to those who think they don't care for Korngold's style.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010