Notes and Editorial Reviews
Award-winning soprano Joan Rogers is joined for Wolf’s Italian Songbook by acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams, with Roger Vignoles at the piano.
This new recording for Champs Hill Records was made shortly after their recital at Wigmore Hall, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, in April 2012. “Each of the three brought sensitivity and experience to the poetry at their command, the end result being a performance of much beauty, feeling, and—most welcomely for this repertoire—joy.” Opera Britannia
Self-critical of being master of ‘only a small-?scale genre’ Hugo Wolf made carefully structured collections of his songs, each a tiny drama in music. It means that his Songbooks are much more than a random
collections and, as with The Italian Songbook, they represent his attempt to make something more substantial, to tell a bigger story, to create a kind of ‘compressed opera’.
Wolf, who died in 1903 following a period of insanity brought on by syphilis, described The Italian Songbook - his last major work - as “the most original and perfect of my compositions”.
Rodgers and Williams are equal partners, flitting effortlessly between enchantment and cynicism. Williams's command of these acerbic mini-dramas is superb but the most impressive aspect is the expressivity and clarity of Vignoles's playing.
– BBC Music Magazine
Inspired by by Vignoles humorous relish and luminous delivery of touch, Rodgers and Williams form a persuasive duo. Occasionally Rodgers's expressive lyric soprano grows fluttery under pressure. But she judges mood and character to a nicety. For consistent illumination, not least least from Vignoles, this new recording is as satisfying as any.
The flexible Williams takes on the greater workload; Rodgers adds deftly shaded intimacies; Vignoles is sensitive, often impish.
– Sunday Times Read less
Works on This Recording
Italienisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf
Roderick Williams (Baritone),
Joan Rodgers (Soprano),
Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Written: 1891-1896; Vienna, Austria
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