Angelika Kirchschlager

Hugo Wolf: Songs

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AllMusic Review by

Mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager began her career in the 1990s with feet in the worlds of opera and song, and while she has continued in both, her focus has shifted more toward song recitals. In a 2009 interview with The Times, she said, "I like fine colours, and I think my voice is good for the fine colours you need to sing a song programme." Her 2003 recording of lieder by Hugo Wolf (released by Sony in 2009) is a testimony to her use of those fine colors in the service of subtly variegated interpretations. Kirchschlager's voice is secure but light: the closeness and dryness of the recorded sound, however, emphasizes that lightness at the expense of the luminous warmth that other recordings have shown she is capable of. In fact, her voice sounds small here, without much of a glow or sheen. The intimacy of the songs is always evident, but most seem to exist within a fairly circumscribed level of volume and intensity. There's not a single performance that can be faulted; each song is beautifully and expressively articulated, with intelligence and sensitive musicality, but taken as a whole, the album has a sameness that diminishes the impact of the individual songs. Kirchschlager's artistry is apparent, but the album as a whole lacks the variety to make it a fully successful venture. It should be of most interest to listeners who are already Wolf fans, whose familiarity with the music will allow them to savor the nuanced sensitivity of Kirchschlager's performances. Pianist Helmut Deutsch provides an attentive and responsive accompaniment.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:46
2
1:19
3
3:00
4
2:04
5
2:26
6
3:07
7
1:35
8
3:06
9
1:29
10
3:33
11
6:10
12
3:07
13
1:20
14
4:04
Vier Gedichte nach Heine, Shakespeare und Lord Byron, for voice & piano
15
2:40
16
2:16
17
2:58
18
4:19
19
2:20
20
3:16
21
3:45
Alte Weisen (6 Poems by Keller), for voice & piano
22
2:14
23
1:16
24
1:24
25
2:00
26
1:15
27
3:21
blue highlight denotes track pick