Brahms: Lieder, Liebeslieder & Waltzes
The works were performed in the spirit of true chamber music, with characterful voices and a feeling of mutual sympathy, the singers and their accompanists display a wide range of mood, color, accentuation, blend, and individuality.
"In this new release of an all-Brahms concert, recorded live at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland in 2003, Levine presides from the piano. His collaborators are an internationally recognized quartet of singers ... including the Hungarian soprano Andrea Rost, Czech mezzo Magdalena Kožená, the distinguished American tenor Matthew Polenzani, and German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, who retired from the stage four years ago. Each sings a group of solo songs before joining forces with Levine and Yefim Bronfman, another deluxe accompanist, in the two sets of Brahms’s beloved “Love Song Waltzes.”
An extraordinarily sensitive ensemble, lively tempos and vivid realization of the texts make these colorful “Love Song Waltzes” a feast for the ear. This essentially lighthearted performance, the perfect antidote to overly serious readings, aptly strikes the perfect balance between subtle humor and wistful charm.
Whether because of their choice of songs or the dictates of the moment in live performance, the men take the honors in the solo songs. Polenzani brings an urgent ardor to “Message” and “How Are You, My Queen”fairly trembles with youthful rapture."
-The Washington Post