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Enchantment / Magdalena Kozená


Release Date: 05/09/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000657612   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Charles GounodGeorges BizetWolfgang Amadeus MozartGeorge Frideric Handel,   ... 
Performer:  Magdalena KozenáClaire Delgado-BogeEdwige ParatBarbara Maria Willi,   ... 
Conductor:  Marc MinkowskiMichel SwierczewskiPaul McCreeshReinhard Goebel,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber OrchestraPrague Philharmonic OrchestraLes Musiciens du Louvre,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.

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An excellent collection of works that show off the talents of this amazing young singer

Young Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená is one of the latest “finds” in the golden voice competition that constantly thrives in the classical music industry. From her earliest recording — her first solo disc was a Czech-only release of Bach arias, later released internationally by DG [review] — it was clear that this woman could sing. Curiously, the first Bach disc was a bit of a risk, but it shows off her voice in an excellent selection of arias from Bach’s cantatas and passions. Kožená
Read more was then “discovered” by several conductors, including Marc Minkowski and John Eliot Gardiner, and began performing on stages in Western Europe and around the world.

With a discography of more than twenty recordings, and with the kind of blue eyes that work well in glossy magazines, DG has tried to brand her as a new star. She has changed her look over the past few years, going from the lanky teenager-type image on the cover of the Handel Italian Cantatas recording she make with Marc Minkowski (who exactly approved that picture?) to the cunning vixen look on her Love Songs album, retreating to the Jodie Foster-ish seriousness of Lamento, an album of baroque arias.

With all this coming and going between her image and her repertoire, Kožená gives the impression of someone who either doesn’t know what exactly she wants to do, or of someone who is being handled adroitly by her manager and record label. This is unfortunate, because if one had never seen her face or her album covers and only heard her voice, one could not avoid being under her spell. This compilation album, Enchantment, presents a selection of the varied repertoire that Kožená has been performing in her eight-year recording career. From Bach to Britten, from Mozart to Massenet, without forgetting Handel, Rameau and, of course, Janacek and Dvo?ák, Kožená has recorded an astounding variety of music.

She certainly has a predilection for the baroque and for French music. My first exposure to Kožená’s singing was her Bach; her performance of Bach’s cantata BWV 199, under John Eliot Gardiner, is heart-rending. That work is not on this album, but you can get a taste of her passion for Bach in her performance of Erbarme Dich, one of the most moving arias from the St. Matthew Passion, where she uses the full range of her voice and emotion to tell a tearful story. Her rendition of Handel’s Se Pieta di me non senti, from Giulio Cesare, is another example of her fine voice and her ability to use it to the maximum. While she uses a tad too much vibrato in this latter song, it doesn’t annoy, as is often the case with lyric singers in the baroque idiom. De torrente in via bibet, from Handel’s Dixit Dominus is a fine example of a smaller scale work, where her vibrato is in restraint, and where her voice melds with the other soloist in a beautifully moving duet.

While this set contains a majority of baroque music, Kožená’s interest in French music is apparent, with some excellent songs by Massenet (J'ai versé le poison from Cléopatre shows her in a more forceful voice) and Rameau (the two short, truculent airs from Dardanus). She takes a bit of a world tour with a moving performance of Respighi’s Il Tramonto, sung with a string quartet, and a Britten lullaby, before returning to her native tongue with seven love songs by Janacek.

Throughout this set, which is more of a sampler than a coherent compilation, one is astounded by Kožená’s range and the sheer beauty of her voice. Fans of this singer may not want to run out and purchase, for example, Giulio Caesare or Dardanus just for Kožená’s contributions (which are minimal in each of these works); however, those unfamiliar with these great works would certainly discover other great singers, such as John-Mark Ainsley, Véronique Gens and Laurent Naouri in the latter and Anne-Sofie von Otter in the former. What Enchantment shows is that Kožená can be both a striking soloist, such as in her Janacek and Bach, but also an excellent team player, as evidenced by her stellar performances in the Handel and Rameau recordings.

If this is your first exposure to this voice, you may want to discover more of Kožená’s work in her solo albums; the ones designed to highlight her and her alone: there are several of them. But especially if you are a fan of baroque music, go for some of the operas she has contributed to, or her Bach cantatas or St. Matthew Passion. ...

To sum up, this is an excellent collection of works that show off the talents of this amazing young singer. Ignore the glossy photos and listen to the music; poor Magdalena would be better off in the long run if she sold her voice and not her pretty eyes and blond hair. After all, people really don’t buy such albums for their cover pictures; well, I hope not. But in this case, the music is every bit as beautiful as the singer.

-- Kirk McElhearn, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Cinq Mars: Nuit resplendissante by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876-1877; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: French 
2. Carmen: Les tringles des sistres tintaient "Gypsy Song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Claire Delgado-Boge (Mezzo Soprano), Edwige Parat (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
3. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Voi che sapete che cosa č amor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Barbara Maria Willi (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Michel Swierczewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Dvorak Hall, Prague, Czech Republic 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Che sento? oh Dio! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 1 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Se pietŕ di me non senti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 9 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Piangerň la sorte mia by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 6 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Da tempeste il legno infranto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 11/2002 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8. Cléopâtre: J'ai versé le poison by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: French 
9. L'olimpiade: Che non mi disse un dil by Josef Myslivecek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1778 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: German 
10. Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: German 
11. Ach, dass ich Wassers genug hätte by Johann Christoph Bach
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: German 
12. Dardanus: L'Amour, le seul Amour by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1739 - 1744). 
13. Dardanus: Allez, jeune guerrier by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1739 - 1744). 
14. Languet Anima Mea: O vulnera, vita coelestis by Francesco B. Conti
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
15. Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 47, Erbarme dich by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
16. Tra le fiamme, HWV 170: Voli per l'aria chi puň volare by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
17. Tra le fiamme, HWV 170: Tra le fiamme by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
18. Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 "Hunt Cantata": Schafe können sicher weiden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marek Stryncl
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Florea
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: German 
19. Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30: Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marek Stryncl
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Florea
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
20. Dixit Dominus, HWV 232: De torrente by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Alto)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: French 
21. Paride ed Elena: Quegli occhi belli by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Carolyn Sampson (Soprano), Susan Gritton (Soprano), Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players
Period: Classical 
Written: 1770; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: German 
22. La clemenza di Tito, K 621: Deh, per questo istante solo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Michel Swierczewski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Dvorak Hall, Prague, Czech Republic 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
23. Il tramonto by Ottorino Respighi
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Henschel String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 
24. Satires (5), Op. 109: no 3, The descendants by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USSR 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: German 
25. A Charm of Lullabies, Op. 41: no 2, Highland balou by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: German 
26. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 17, For Whom the Flower by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
27. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 5, Lover's Likeness by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: German 
28. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 19, Light Feather by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: German 
29. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 16, Steadiness by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: German 
30. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 1, Love by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 
31. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 38, Parting by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: German 
32. Moravian folk poetry in Song: no 18, My Lover's Horses by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1901; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: German 
33. In folk tone, Op. 73/B 146: no 1, Good night, my darling by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: German 
34. In folk tone, Op. 73/B 146: no 2, When a maiden was a-mowing by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 02/2003 
Venue:  Melanchthon Church, Cologne, Germany 
Language: German 

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