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Recital At Ravinia - Brahms, Handel, Debussy, Mozart, Etc / Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Peter Serkin, Et Al


Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907500   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsWolfgang Amadeus MozartGeorge Frideric HandelHenry Thacker Burleigh,   ... 
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt LiebersonPeter SerkinDrew Minter
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Go to track 15, and when you finish listening to Harry Burleigh's "Deep River" you will have experienced the essence of performance artistry, the meaning of style and interpretation, and the heart, soul, and extraordinary voice and talent of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. No detailed analysis is necessary; this is simply how a song should be sung, and how voice, music, and words transcend the physical to the spiritual. From the calm, assured beauty of the opening phrase, we know the singer believes her home "is over Jordan", the "promised land" she gloriously proclaims at the song's climax, and then so affectingly describes at the words "where all is peace".

Lieberson's vocal
Read more mastery, understanding of text and how to convey its meaning, combined with the warm, richly colored timbre of her voice, exemplified in this simple song, are the same qualities you'll hear, applied with the same degree of care and skill, in every other selection in this recital, a concert performance from Ravinia (Illinois) in August, 2004. Whether it's the fuller textures and overt drama of the three Brahms songs or the airier contemplative atmosphere of Debussy's Trois chansons de Bilitis, Lieberson's voice seems the perfect vehicle for this at once most intimate and universal form of communication. Apparently the audience felt something special too, as indicated from contemporary reviews of the concert.

Of course, the very conditions that inspired Lieberson's artistic and expressive instincts detract somewhat from the CD listener's experience because we can't help but notice audience noises and voice/piano balance that's not always ideal. Some observers (this one included) also will find Lieberson's abundant portamento in the Handel La Lucrezia excerpts to be more distracting than dramatically appropriate or necessary (the drama in her performance is impressive enough!), but the Mozart pieces, especially the Schubert-esque Abendempfindung an Laura, are not so affected by such embellishment. The program ends with a song (Robert Telson's "Calling You") from one of Lieberson's "favorite films", Baghdad Cafe. It's lovely, wistful, and sad (and it sounds eerily like a Leonard Cohen tune as sung by Jennifer Warnes!), and ends in complete silence (thankfully applause is mostly excised from the recording). I should also say that Peter Serkin is an able if not always fully in-sync partner and the engineering and mastering are excellent.

Inevitably there will be some commentators who, with the disadvantage of hindsight, will claim to detect some quality of weakness or change in Lieberson's voice attributable to the illness that was to take her life at age 52 less than two years from the date of this concert. Pay no attention. If when she gave this performance she knew she was dying, all you can say is that it only made her singing more poignant, her interpretations more insightful and affecting, not less so. And in the end, as I said at the beginning, this is simply how songs should be sung.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (8), Op. 57: no 8, Unbewegte laue Luft by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Die schöne Magelone, Op. 33: no 9, Ruhe, Süssliebchen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1868; Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3.
Songs (4), Op. 43: no 1, Von ewiger Liebe by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
4.
Dans un bois solitaire, K 308 (295b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777-1778; Mannheim, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
5.
Als Luise die Briefe, K 520 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
6.
Abendempfindung, K 523 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 
7.
Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, K 619 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 37 Secs. 
8.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Son nata a lagrimar by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor), Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 36 Secs. 
9.
Jubilee Songs of the USA: Deep River by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1916; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
10.
Oh numi eterni, HWV 145 "La Lucrezia" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709; Italy 
Length: 15 Minutes 46 Secs. 
11.
Chansons de Bilitis for Speaker and Chamber Ensemble by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; France 
Length: 10 Minutes 7 Secs. 
12.
Baghdad CaféOut of Rosenheim: Calling you by Bob Telson
Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Abendempfindung (Mozart)
Bagdad Cafe (Out of Rosenheim) (Telson): Calling You

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