LSM Newswire

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson | New CD On Wigmore Hall Live


LORRAINE HUNT LIEBERSON'S 1999 WIGMORE HALL CONCERT

IS RELEASED ON THE WIGMORE HALL LIVE LABEL


THE MUSIC OF SCHUMANN AND BRAHMS IS HEARD IN POWERFUL AND PROFOUND PERFORMANCES BY THE BELOVED AMERICAN MEZZO-SOPRANO WHO DIED IN 2006; JULIUS DRAKE IS THE PIANIST


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, the esteemed and beloved American mezzo-soprano who died in 2006, is heard in a new CD on the Wigmore Hall Live label (WHLIVE0024). This concert was recorded live in London's Wigmore Hall on October 4, 1999. Julius Drake is the pianist.


Ms. Hunt Lieberson's performances of works by Brahms and Schumann are soulful, powerful and profound -- a masterful technique completely in service to the music and its message.


This is the 25th CD released on the Wigmore Hall Live label and the second by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, the first being the 30 November 1998 concert of works by Brahms, Handel, Lieberson (the singer's husband), Mahler, and a traditional spiritual, with Roger Vignoles, pianist (WHLive0013, released last year).


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, originally from Northern California, died at the age of 52. She brought an almost paradoxical combination of serenity and intensity to her performances, with her subtle but penetrating illumination of both text and music. Her recorded legacy is relatively small, making this release especially valuable.


Reviewing the live concert in 1999, Andrew Clements in The Guardian (London) wrote: "...With Julius Drake as the ever attentive pianist, she devoted her recital to Brahms and Schumann, and it was spell-binding. There is no artifice, no affectation and most of all no self-regarding ego about Hunt Lieberson; she is on the platform to communicate. It helps, of course, that she possesses a voice of such haunting beauty and that her musicality is so instinctive ... Each number of Frauenliebe und -leben ran through a whole spectrum of colour and emotional flux. The way in which Ich kann's nicht fassen grew from breathless wonder to untrammelled ecstasy was a microcosm of the emotional journey that the whole cycle charts. Magical."


The contents of the CD are as follows:


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano

Julius Drake, Piano


Brahms Eight Songs, Op. 57

Schumann Four Lieder from Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Op. 98a

Schumann Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42

(Encores: Debussy Fantoches from Fetes galantes; and Handel Angels, ever bright and fair, from Theodora)


John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall, who is responsible for all aspects of the Hall's activities and its recording label, stated: "We are particularly delighted to release a second Wigmore Hall Live archive recording of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson -- one of the world's most beautiful voices -- in repertoire by Schumann and Brahms.


"Wigmore Hall Live has grown into a flagship international label since its launch in 2005, and we're very excited that we have already reached our 25th disc, with many more exciting releases planned for the seasons ahead. The label is now distributed in 30 worldwide territories, bringing the unique Wigmore Hall experience to an even greater audience."


London's Wigmore Hall is generally regarded as the world's finest concert hall for chamber music and song, a reputation which has grown and flourished in the 107 years since its opening. Its generous acoustics, intimacy and warm hospitality has won great loyalty from the world's greatest artists. Being innovative as well as traditional, Wigmore Hall has consistently led the way for new types of song recital and chamber music programming. It is held in the highest esteem and affection by musicians and music lovers the world over.


Wigmore Hall Live's catalogue includes archival recordings of musicians of the highest calibre: Dame Margaret Price with Geoffrey Parsons, and Peter Schreier with Andrs Schiff; contemporary Wigmore regulars Dame Felicity Lott with Graham Johnson and Sir Thomas Allen with Malcolm Martineau. Early music, with the Academy of Ancient Music, is heard in close proximity to contemporary music, advocated by the Arditti Quartet, while Wigmore Hall continues its commitment to nurturing Young Artists with exhilarating performance by Joyce DiDonato and Julius Drake. The label's newer releases include recent concerts from the Ysae Quartet, and the first appearance at the Hall by Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski and her recital partner, Marita Isokoski.


Releases scheduled for 2009 on Wigmore Hall Live include recitals by Swedish soprano Miah Persson and pianist Roger Vignoles; Polish mezzo-soprano Ewa Podle with pianist Garrick Ohlsson (a program that also features Musorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death); Russian-born pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja; and Hungarian pianist Andrs Schiff playing at Wigmore Hall's 1988 Haydn Festival.

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