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Brahms - Lieder
“The absorbing six songs that make up Op 86 are all easily encompassed by Marie-Nicole Lemieux, not least because her technique is so secure that she can pay attention to the meaning of each song. Feldeinsamkeit, so inwardly sung, and Todessehnen receive particularly thoughtful readings, all supported finely by Michael McMahon's perceptive playing.
The nine songs of Op 69 are expressly designed for a woman and have their moments, but they're among the less inspired in Brahms's large output of Lieder. Not so, of course, the two songs with viola – the admirable Nicolò Eugelmi here. To these gently lulling, timeless pieces, Lemieux brings the sovereign virtues of firm line and apt phrasing.
The CD reaches its zenith in Brahms last and greatest Lieder, his Vier ernste Gesänge. Lemieux rises to their challenge. The interpretations are properly earnest, but intimate, never overblown.
Her partner is again exemplary in his discreet yet positive playing.
A natural acoustic adds to the pleasure to be gained from this sensibly planned recital, which is highly recommended.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Brahms - Complete Lieder Edition Volume 6
“Of all the leading composers of Lieder, Brahms suffers more than any other through neglect, with so little of his output in the field ever appearing on recital programmes. There's some reason for this, given that his contribution to the genre is uneven, as you can judge listening to the uninspired settings of minor poets comprising Op 69. but just when you think the composer might have been on auto-pilot in his songs of the mid-1870s, along come the four pieces of Op 70 to make you revise your opinion. The impressionistic 'Lerchengesang', the reflective 'Serenade' and the better-known 'Abendregen', all show the composer in his most imaginative mode, alive to words and their inner meaning.
The inspiration is more intermittent in Opp 71 and 72, but the better of the songs here – the Hölty 'Minnelied' and Bretano 'O kühler Wald' – rank with the finest in Brahms's output.
Both Banse and Schmidt are at their appreciable best as regards voice and interpretation, Banse always inside her readings, Schmidt producing tone that's consistently warm and appealing. She alternates convincingly between passion and lighter emotions. He's particularly well suited by the whole of Op 72, giving a nicely ebullient account of 'Unüberwindlich', a Goethe setting that ends the programme. Deutsch is fully up to the exigent demands of the piano parts, often almost like solos in themselves.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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