Notes and Editorial Reviews
Dorothee Mields (s); Nelson Goerner (pn)
NIFCCD 023 (51:55)
Although the songs are listed on the back cover, the surprise of this beautifully sung and played collection of the nine Chopin songs meant for women is that they are first performed in German and then again in Polish. Though the fact that the included texts are given only in those languages may be problematic, I don’t think we should be indignant about the language of the first half of the singing: Chopin’s songs were translated into German in his time. So, as the fine Chopin pianist Nelson Goerner plays an 1848 Pleyel, even the first half of this disc, the German half, might be considered historically informed, if not purely what Chopin intended. More importantly, I don’t know anyone who has made more of a musical argument for these songs than Dorothee Mields, whose gentle, literate approach is so touching one seems to be hearing the songs for the first time. Mields is best known for her Bach singing, though she has also made a Purcell disc. Here she seems totally in her element, and Nelson Goerner’s unobtrusive accompaniment is just as accomplished and in its own way, as moving, as the singing. There are not so many performances to choose among, and I think the fine version by Elizabeth Soderstrom is unavailable. This performance of these often melancholy, unassuming songs should be heard by anyone interested in this corner of the repertoire.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman