Magdalena Kožená

Soirée: Magdalena Kožená & Friends

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AllMusic Review by

The publicity for this Magdalena Kožená release just about writes itself: the Soirée of the title is a session of putative domestic music-making, featuring not only Kožená but her husband, Sir Simon Rattle, on the piano, plus a string quartet and other instruments that come together into various groups. Much of the music is presented as written, but sets by Dvořák and Brahms (the not-terribly-common Five Ophelia Lieder, WoO 22) are arranged for small ensemble. The concept seems a bit strained: Stravinsky's 12-tone Three Songs from William Shakespeare don't feel like soirée music and don't fit with the rest of the program (give Kožená credit for largely accent-free English, though), and the multiple voices introduced in Janáček's Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes) also break the mood. However, there are numerous strong moments, especially where Kožená is on home ground with Dvořák. Sample any of the four Gypsy Songs and appreciate Kožená's fine way with a text, nowhere more evident than when she is singing in Czech. The Brahms Ophelia Lieder are also something of a revelation here. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 07:25 Amazon
Zigeunermelodien, Op. 55, B. 104
2 02:42 Amazon
3 01:24 Amazon
Cypriše (Cypresses), B. 11
4 03:19 Amazon
In Folk Tone, Op. 73, B. 146
5 01:53 Amazon
Zigeunermelodien, Op. 55, B. 104
6 02:40 Amazon
7 01:05 Amazon
In Folk Tone, Op. 73, B. 146
8 03:26 Amazon
2 Gesänge, Op. 91
9 06:19 Amazon
10 05:12 Amazon
3 Songs from William Shakespeare
11 02:49 Amazon
12 01:52 Amazon
13 02:12 Amazon
Chansons madécasses
14 06:10 Amazon
15 04:01 Amazon
16 04:21 Amazon
5 Ophelia-Lieder, WoO 22
17 00:58 Amazon
18 00:30 Amazon
19 00:57 Amazon
20 01:05 Amazon
21 02:00 Amazon
Říkadla (Nursery Rhymes), JW V/17
22 01:08 Amazon
23 00:35 Amazon
24 01:03 Amazon
25 01:06 Amazon
26 01:03 Amazon
27 00:39 Amazon
28 00:37 Amazon
29 00:32 Amazon
30 04:02 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick