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Brahms: Lieder / Lemieux , Et Al


Release Date: 10/19/2004 
Label:  Analekta   Catalog #: 29906   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole LemieuxMichael McMahonNicolò Eugelmi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Emotion simmers and swirls mostly below the surface in the Op. 86 and Op. 121 songs, challenging the singer to sustain tension and maintain impetus by being faithful to the dictates of Brahms' lines and harmonic underpinning and allowing pure vocal technique to do the rest. Marie-Nicole Lemieux is an exceptional singer, whose vocal attributes and technical facility are already noted in our review of her Handel Italian Cantatas CD (type Q5991 in Search Reviews), and here she applies her impeccable musicianship and gorgeous mezzo/alto to Brahms, whose melodies (and manner in which they're scored) always seem as if conceived with this voice-type in mind. And Lemieux simply adds the rich, dark, welcoming warmth of her instrument to careful, Read more thoughtful phrasing, clear articulation, liquid legatos, and a controlled, understated expressive conception that produces a true "less is more" result. After all, there's not much volatility, no extremes of dynamics or tempo or range, not even a programmatic gimmick to spice a performance or highlight a text--it's all up to the voice and the singer's world-wisdom and artistic maturity to paint for the listener the progression of scenes and emotions in the Op. 86 songs, from love's hope to rejection to carefree denial, and ultimate despair.


Although throughout you get the sense that Lemieux weighs more heavily on the beautiful than the insightful side of the expressive scale, you can't fault the performances for that. A few more years' experience will demand a return to these songs; meanwhile, we can simply sit back and enjoy the grace and sensuousness of her rendition of the classic "Feldeinsamkeit", or her playful "Klage I" (closely reminiscent of one of Brahms' later Gypsy songs), or the utterly charming and perfectly executed (with her viola and piano partners) "Geistliches Wiegenlied". And certainly, Michael McMahon must be commended for his substantive and sensitive accompaniment, and the engineers also for creating a complementary sonic environment. This is a fine recital, another impressive effort from a singer whose intelligent repertoire choices and formidable vocal "chops" promise a long and productive career. We're already looking forward to the next project! [10/15/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (6), Op. 86 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
2.
Songs (9), Op. 69 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
3.
Songs (2) for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Michael McMahon (Piano), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1864-84; Austria 
4.
Serious Songs (4), Op. 121 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 

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