The pairing of soprano Dorothea Röschmann and pianist Mitsuko Uchida is a somewhat odd one, but it seems to have been enthusiastically undertaken by both parties. This recording was made live, drawn from a tour in which the pair performed this exact program on both sides of the Atlantic. They know the music well and get deeply into it. Röschmann is a soprano much prized these days by those who value sheer richness of tone; she doesn't interact much with the great Eichendorff texts of the Liederkreis, Op. 39, although somehow she seems to connect more with Berg's Seven Early Songs; their Straussian flavor fits her voice perfectly. Uchida, as accompanist, is entirely different: her lines seem to flow like a river with its own energy beneath the text, and she is quietly probing in her playing. This combination gets to the similarity between the otherwise divergent Schumann and Berg; Schumann's songs, as much as those of the much later Berg's, are conversations between singer and pianist. Whether that conversation occurs here may be a matter of individual reaction, but the performance has both beauty and distinctiveness. Decca's engineers have gotten near-studio clarity from London's Wigmore Hall and captured the live excitement.
Schumann: Liederkreis; Frauenliebe und Leben; Berg: Sieben frühe Lieder
Dorothea Röschmann / Mitsuko Uchida
(Digital Download - Decca #)