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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Hugill    INTERLINKING RESONANCES


Autumn starts with Franz Shreker's Those Mild and Sunlit Days are So Fair (Sie sind so schön) where Ernman spins a wonderfully fine line, as the song builds from its delicate opening to a stronger climax. She displays a good vocal line again in Fauré's Automne (Autumn), which receives a rich and sonorous reading [listen -- track 10, 0:00-1:29]. Ernman seems at home in French and there is good colouring and shading of the words. The song builds to a wonderful climax in which Ernman's voice displays a lovely focussed, power. In Liszt's Relstab setting Es rauschen di Winde (Gusting are the Winds) the poet's analogy between the seasons and the progress of his love is well caught. The final autumn piece is UNQUIET by Catharina Backman (born 1961). Here a deceptively simple vocal line covers a restless accompaniment [listen -- track 12, 0:00-1:10]. Here, as in all the songs, pianist Francisca Skoogh provides admirably supple support, even if the piano can be too much in the background. Between them pianist and singer confidently capture Backman's magical atmosphere.

They are less successful in Gerald Finzi's Hardy setting Before and After the Summer (Op 16 No 2). Their performance is creditable, but they do not quite achieve Finzi's distinctive atmosphere. In Sibelius's Arioso (Op 3) they are more on home ground and project the song's haunting sense of melancholy. Tchaikovsky's A Winter's Evening (Op 54 No 7) is sung in German rather than Russian, but Ernman gives it a powerful performance. Finally, Isarna (Icing Over) by Thomas Jennefelt (born 1954) makes a concentrated, understated end to this imaginative programme.

This disc is the sort of recital which is greater than the sum of its parts. Nytorp Musik's commissioning of four songs along with Ernman's wide ranging selection of songs give us a disc which both shows of the singer's talent and leaves us with a progression of songs whose interlinking resonances last long after the recital has finished.

Copyright © 6 January 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK


Songs in Season

NYTORP6 DDD Stereo 56'10" 2003 Nytorp Musik

Malena Ernman, mezzo soprano; Francisca Skoogh, piano

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Frühlingslied (A Song of Spring); Edvard Grieg (1843-1907): Våren (Last Spring); Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936): Il Giardino (The Garden); Staffan Storm (born 1964): Våren på Djurgården (Spring on Djurgården) (2001) (first recording of Nytorp Musik commission); Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Nature, the Gentlest Mother; Charles Koechlin (1867-1950): L'été (Summer); Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Ablösung im Sommer (Change in Summer); Hans Gefors (born 1952): Förra Sommarn (The Summer Before) (first recording of Nytorp Musik commission); Franz Schreker (1878-1934): Sie sind so schön (Those Mild and Sunlit Days are So Fair); Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924): Automne (Autumn) Op 18 No 3; Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Es rauschen die Winde (Gusting are the Winds); Catharina Backman (born 1961): O (Unquiet) (first recording of Nytorp Musik commission); Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Before and After Summer; Jean Sibelius (1865-1957): Arioso; Piotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Winterabend (A Winter's Evening); Thomas Jennefelt (born 1954): Isarna (Icing Over) (first recording of Nytorp Musik commission)


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