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Virgins, Vixens & Viragos / Susan Graham

Graham / Martineau
Release Date: 11/13/2012 
Label:  Onyx   Catalog #: 4105   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Henry PurcellHector BerliozFranz SchubertRobert Schumann,   ... 
Performer:  Susan GrahamMalcolm Martineau
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Susan Graham’s eagerly awaited new ONYX CD is a characteristically wide ranging recital which covers a wide spectrum of female emotions as experienced by the virgins, vixens and one of the most frightening of viragos – Lady Macbeth, all captured here in song. In addition to these emotional extremes, there are also lighter issues for a girl to confront, in the Poulenc, and a fruitless pursuit of a boy in the Sondheim to lighten the mood!

R E V I E W S:

“Graham is an artist to treasure, a striking mezzo whose powerful silky voice can achieve Janet Baker-like expressiveness, with a gift for French song but also a mile-wide impish streak...Porter's anatomically witty lament and Sondheim's wicked Girl from Ipanema
Read more parody leave one chuckling for all the right reasons. All told, a gem.”
-- BBC Music Magazine [2/2013]

"I can't think of another singer today who could match Susan Graham in an eclectic programme ranging across three centuries, four languages and a diverse array of idioms...In glowing voice, Graham opens with a richly imagined, deeply felt performance of Purcell's quasi-operatic scena, culminating in repeated cries of almost excruciating intensity...a recital of rare versatility and panache”
-- Gramophone [3/2013]

"As the title suggests, the album Virgins, Vixens, & Viragos by American mezzo soprano Susan Graham is meant to cover songs and operatic selections (accompanied with piano) having a wide emotional range. Graham's strengths -- intelligence and novel choice of repertory -- are fully in evidence here. The album is worth the purchase price for the six Mignon songs (tracks 3-8) alone. These are settings of texts by Goethe, originally from the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship), and it's hard for a non-German audience to appreciate how familiar they were to German-speaking listeners of a century ago. Graham's set of six songs ranging from Schubert to the early 20th century (one by Tchaikovsky in German, another by Henri Duparc in French) gives a feeling of how the original hearers of these songs might have approached them as new versions of very familiar texts. The rest of the program has attractive finds as well: some pleasant Poulenc songs, a nice integration of Broadway tunes into a predominantly European sequence, and a fine rarity of a Shakespearean aria in the form of a selection from Joseph Horovitz's Lady Macbeth. Although the majority of the material here is not in that language, Graham remains a singer of the French school first and foremost, cultivating a controlled elegance. The bottom line is that Graham fans are likely to eat this up, and it's an offbeat vocal recital for anybody."

-- All Music Guide


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Works on This Recording

1. The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693; England 
2. La mort d'Ophélie, Op. 18 no 2/H 92a by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; France 
3. Gesänge (4) aus Wilhelm Meister, D 877/Op. 62: no 2, Heiss mich nicht reden by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
4. Lieder aus Wilhelm Meister, Op. 98a: no 9, So lasst mich scheinen by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
5. Mignons Lied, S 275 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842/1856; Germany 
6. Romance de Mignon by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1869; France 
7. Lady Macbeth by Joseph Horovitz
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970 
8. Léocadia: Les chemins de l'amour by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; France 
9. Fiançailles pour rire by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; France 
10. Songs (6), Op. 6: no 6, None but the lonely heart by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
11. Goethe Lieder: no 9, Mignon "Kennst du das Land" by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
12. Nymph Errant: The Physician by Cole Porter
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Written: 1933 
13. Ages ago by Vernon Duke
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
14. The Boy from Tacarembo... by Mary Rodgers
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Malcolm Martineau (Piano)

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