Bernarda Fink's voice is well suited to the nineteenth century lied; it's warm, full, and intensely focused, with a radiant luminosity over its whole range. She projects a sense of regal composure and a maturity that's not so much chronological as spiritual; you just have the sense that this is a very centered individual. Those qualities, along with her interpretive sensitivity, make this a truly memorable version of Frauenliebe und -leben. Fink is fully convincing in the progression from the love-struck girl to the young bride to the grieving widow not so much through vocal coloring -- she wisely doesn't attempt to "age" her voice -- but through more subtle interpretive choices, such as varying the emotional temperature of the songs through the intensity she brings to each one. She is consistently fine throughout the cycle, exploiting its emotional profundity, but the first and last songs are especially effective and moving. Roger Vignoles is a sensitive and self-effacing accompanist. The recital includes anther complete cycle, the Lenau Lieder, Op. 90, as well as nine other songs. Fink brings the same gorgeous sound and interpretive depth to the whole recital, making this a CD that should be of strong interest to any lieder fans. Harmonia Mundi's sound is a little on the shallow side, but after an initial period of adjustment, its lack of a stronger presence becomes less obvious or bothersome.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Frauenliebe und -leben, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 42|
Mignon ("Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn"), song for voice & piano (Lieder-Album für die Jugend), Op. 79/28
Der Sandmann ("Zwei feine Stieflein hab ich an"), song for voice & piano (Lieder-Album für die Jugend), Op. 79/12
|Songs (6) (Lenau) and "Requiem" for voice & piano, Op. 90|