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Schumann: Liederkreis, Etc / Rostorf-zamir, Zak


Release Date: 01/29/2008 
Label:  Roméo Records   Catalog #: 7260   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-ZamirJonathan Zak
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUMANN Liederkreis, op. 39. Frauenliebe und Leben. An den Mond. Mein Herz ist schwer. Die Tochter Jephtas. Aus den ostlichen Rosen. Schneeflöckchen. Der Himmel hat eine Träne geweint. Widmung Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (sop); Jonathan Zak (pn) ROMÉO 7260 (58:07 Text and Translation)


Once in a very rare while—far less than one would like, or hope for—we reviewers are very, very lucky to get a disc like Read more this. An “unknown” singer and pianist, plunked on a small label and thrown into the ether of the classical sales jungle, that is just so great that you don’t even know where to begin praising it.


In a world of cookie-cutter sopranos and generalized Lieder singers who apparently think that a song and a dance are the way to sell their wares, we have here a genuine artist, a woman whose dedication and poetic insight are so obvious, so deeply, personally motivated, so devoid of contrivance, artificiality, or posturing that—I’ll be honest—after the delight I experienced in hearing her, I started to tear up. You simply don’t find artists like this nowadays, dammit, but here she is. Listening to Rostorf-Zamir sing is like hearing every one of these songs for the first time. Nothing is common or formulaic in her readings. I can imagine that, for older listeners, it’s like discovering Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Janet Baker, or Jon Vickers for the first time.


“Sometimes I may be singing as if I were full of joy,” the lyrics to “Wehmut” go, “but secretly tears are flowing, and then my heart feels free.” Rostorf-Zamir has applied that philosophy to every song in this collection. This is the voice of a woman who has lived, and loved, and yes, suffered, but has transcended all these and is now bringing us the message that life and love are worth the suffering. “If you have a friend on earth, do not trust him at this hour. Friendly both in looks and speech, in seeming peace he schemes for war. What today goes weary down, rises newly-born tomorrow” (“Zwielicht”). But then, “Old wonders reappear with the moonlight in my room . . . And the woods rustle in a dream, and the nightingales are singing, ‘She is yours, she is your own!’” (“Frühlingsnacht.”) These songs are more than a program for her. They are a personal journey.


For that reason, among others, I found her traversal of the well-worn cycle Frauenliebe und Leben to be the best I’ve ever heard. Yes, that’s right—greater than Lotte Lehmann, greater than Baker. She colors her tones like a master painter. There is quiet joy, rectitude, rapture, or poetry in every phrase. The voice itself is that of a Mozartian lyric soprano. She is so caught up in her interpretations that occasionally her tone production suffers. A low or midrange note is pushed just a shade more than her vibrancy will allow. The exultation of a certain high note sounds just a little hard, but never shrill. No matter. This is the voice of woman, speaking to women everywhere—and men, too, if they have the wit to hear. Her technique is superb, allowing her to sing those tricky little mordents (as in “Er, der Herrlichste von allen” or “Helft mir, ihr Schwestern”) as easily as if she were laughing. Her joy is so complete, so sincere, that you almost feel it yourself.


In my headlong rush to praise Rostorf-Zamir, I certainly would be remiss if I did not give equal measure to her accompanist, Jonathan Zak. Discovering him is like hearing Jean-Yves Thibaudet for the first time. His playing is alternately exultant, warm, and reflective as well. As one of the founding members of the Yuval Trio, he has previously recorded chamber music for DGG, CBS-Sony, and others. His long service as a chamber musician is evident. He is far more than an accompanist; he is an equal partner in this musical journey with Rostorf-Zamir.


Buy this recording. Now. Listen, and marvel, and treasure it.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Liederkreis, Op. 24 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
2. Lied(er) by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Jonathan Zak (Piano), Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Language: German 
3. Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
4. Gesänge (3), Op. 95: no 2, An den Mond by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
5. Gesänge (3), Op. 95: no 1, Die Tochter Jepthas by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
6. Myrthen, Op. 25: no 25, Aus den östlichen Rosen by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
7. Gedichte (12) aus "Liebesfrühling", Op. 37: no 1, Der Himmel hat ein Träne geweint by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
8. Myrthen, Op. 25: no 1, Widmung by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano), Jonathan Zak (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 

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