Notes & Reviews:
Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux and pianist Daniel Blumenthal bring vivid perception to Schumann's song-cycle Frauenliebe und-Leben, Op 42. It's tempting to judge this work by the ardent second song, "Er, der Herrlichste von allen". Lemieux passes with flying colours, her timbre dark but gleaming, her adoration for the love object kept in check and never cloying. Vibrato, too, is not overdone
In Frauenliebe und Leben the reticence of both performers pays off. Lemieux's matter-of-fact, deliberately unhistrionic presentation is very touching, so the emotional arc of the cycle clearly emerges without any seeming effort at all.
The strongest performance in this Schumann recital with pianist Daniel Blumenthal is Die L÷wenbraut, more scena than song. There are some enticing moments in Liederkreisà
Lemieux is clearly a thoughtful musician and she sings with a warm well-focused tone.
Lemieux brings a highly individual timbre to her Schumann recital... If you respond to her chocolaty tones, then you may want to investigate further... The rarely performed Die L÷wenbraut... is a treat, and the highlight of the disc.
This is a rare voice of melting loveliness, warm, limpid and rich-toned throughout its range, yet entirely devoid of the stately hootiness traditionally associated with the contralto... Lemieux sings the words clearly, yet without overpointing the text, and finds a different vocal "face" for each song. A revelation!
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