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Brahms: Lieder / Marie-Nicole Lemieux


Release Date: 09/16/2008 
Label:  Analekta   Catalog #: 22007   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole LemieuxNicolò EugelmiMichael McMahon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A singer of the greatest promise in a richly rewarding programme

This 28-year-old French-Canadian contralto – glad she calls herself that rather than the ubiquitous mezzo – is a highly intelligent artist (The Gramophone’s One to Watch in February 2004) whose gifts stretch far beyond being merely well-schooled. She reminds me very much of her Canadian compatriot, Maureen Forrester, of a generation ago. There’s the same velvet-like voice and generosity in phrasing and thought.

The absorbing six songs that make up Op 86 are all easily encompassed by Marie-Nicole Lemieux, not least because her technique is so secure that she can pay attention to the meaning of each song. Feldeinsamkeit, so inwardly sung, and
Read more Todessehnen receive particularly thoughtful readings, all supported finely by Michael McMahon’s perceptive playing.

The nine songs of Op 69 are expressly designed for a woman and have their moments, but they are among the less inspired in Brahms’s large output of Lieder. Not so, of course, the two songs with viola – the admirable Nicolò Eugelmi here. To these gently lulling, timeless pieces, Lemieux brings the sovereign virtues of firm line and apt phrasing.

The CD reaches its zenith in Brahms last and greatest Lieder, his Vier ernste Gesänge. Lemieux rises to their challenge, again recalling Forrester. The interpretations are properly earnest, but intimate, never overblown. Here and there, as in other places in the programme, I would like just more pointed word-painting, but there’s time for that. Her partner is again exemplary in his discreet yet positive playing.

A natural acoustic adds to the pleasure to be gained from this sensibly planned recital, which I highly recommend.

-- Alan Blyth, Gramophone [3/2005, reviewing original release]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (6), Op. 86 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 16 Minutes 17 Secs. 
2.
Songs (9), Op. 69 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 20 Minutes 52 Secs. 
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 
Length: 11 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4.
Serious Songs (4), Op. 121: no 1, Denn es gehet dem Menschen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Michael McMahon (Piano), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 33 Secs. 
5.
Serious Songs (4), Op. 121: no 2, Ich wandte mich und sahe an alle by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Michael McMahon (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
6.
Serious Songs (4), Op. 121: no 3, O Tod, wie bitter bist du by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Michael McMahon (Piano), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7.
Serious Songs (4), Op. 121: no 4, Wenn ich mit Menschen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Nicolò Eugelmi (Viola), Michael McMahon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Songs, op 86: No 1: Therese
Songs, op 91: No 2: Geistliches Wiegenlied

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