The expressivity of Susan Platts' mezzo-soprano is one of her greatest strengths, and these Romantic lieder offer her ideal opportunities to give her emotional depth full rein. This is especially true in Frauenliebe und Leben. Platts' dreamy, breathless wonder is perfectly suited to "Seit Ich ihn gesehen"; her joy grows until it's almost unbearable in "An meinem Herzen, and meinem Brust"; and she sounds devastatedly barren in "Nun hast du mich den ersten Schmerz getan." She brings the same interpretive sensitivity and intensity to the selection of songs by Clara Schumann and Brahms. She has plenty of power and can cut loose with a clarion, ringing top in songs like Brahms' "Wir Wandelten" and in "Verzagen." The five songs by Clara Schumann, the least well-known works on the album, are gems of lyrical inspiration, sensitive text setting, and concise construction. Platts' voice is full and warm and completely focused, and she's absolutely secure throughout her range. It's richly textured, with a slight graininess that's not at all unpleasant, but that gives her a distinctiveness that sets her apart from singers whose voices are utterly pure and velvety. She may not have the limber flexibility of some singers, but she's entirely persuasive in this repertoire. Rena Sharon's accompaniment is responsive and sensitive, and she plays with a beautiful sense of line.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Frauenliebe und -leben, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 42|