Title - 'Schumann & Berg Lieder'
Artist - Mitsuko Uchida & Dorothea Röschmann
Well, this CD was a real treat to get to review. Two great artists at the peak of their powers, the soprano Dorothea Röschmann and the pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida perform songs by Schumann (Liederkreis, Op 39 and Frauenliebe und Leben) and Alban Berg (Seven Early Songs). Basically, what we have here on Schumann & Berg Lieder are three great cycles on the subject of love and life.
Schumann's great love for Clara Wieck is at the heart of Liederkreis, songs he described in a letter to her as his most romantic music ever, with much of you in it. The artists tour this program extensively and this performance was captured live at Wigmore Hall. Indeed, and as you would fully expect, the reviews were glowing. This program of songs about love touched the hearts of the audience wherever it was performed, of that have no doubt.
Schumann & Berg Lieder is also a rather rare opportunity to hear Mitsuko Uchida as song partner; something she adores. Dame Mitsuko Uchida, is a Japanese naturalized-British classical pianist who has appeared with most of the world's foremost orchestras, recorded a wide repertory with major labels, won numerous awards and honors (including Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009). She also serves as co-director of the Marlboro Music School and Festival and in recent years, she has also conducted major orchestras.
Here on Schumann & Berg Lieder, the singing is exquisite; Röschmann has a silvery, soaring soprano in the Lucia Popp/Margaret Price category, light, bright, pure and shimmering with easy top notes and real intensity without a hint of wobble or scratch. Her diction is, of course, ideal and she sings with real passion.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing here is her rendering of "Mondnacht", where the delicacy of Uchida's pianism matches Röschmann's poise. Hear, too, the skill with which Röschmann manages the tricky intervals and sustains perfect intonation in "Auf einer Berg". Anyway, listen for yourself, as you will obviously now be going out to purchase this incredible CD .. yes? Of course, yes. Of course.