BBC Legends: Janet Baker Box Set [3 CDs]

Notes & Reviews:

From 1950-1980 English mezzo-soprano, Jake Baker, dominated the Italian opera; admired and respected for her dramatic intensity and intimate performances. In these 3-CD BBC Legends special-release is a selection of crowd favorite performances. Gramophone calls it a "glorious account" and BBC Music Magazine writes, "there can be no more golden a legend than Janet Baker".

"With ample justification Baker's studio recording of Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with Barbirolli has been considered one of the great versions of that score, but this 1975 Baker-Giulini trumps it... Baker "live" sings with a wrenching, yearning quality in the voice that endows these six songs with an emotional wallop even greater than that wonderful EMI reading... The disc closes with Song of the Wood Dove from Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, from a 1963 LSO concert led by Norman del Mar. Here, the younger singer is in fresh voice, equal to the wide-ranging demands of the score. No one can fault her bright highs or deep low notes, her mastery of the dramatic narrative, or the kaleidoscope of colors. Like much else here, it's magnificent, and despite the earlier date it boasts the most vivid sound on the disc. If you like Baker, you need this." -Classics Today (on disc 2)



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