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Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD

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I was meaning to contribute here all along but my Opera and Vocal collection is quite meagre really, I don't think I have more than 20-25 recital discs in all. And I love almost every single one so it would be very difficult to single anything out.

Currently, I'm listening for the first time to the 4-disc Leontyne Price recital set that Mike recently recommended - and I can see very clearly that it's going to be a favorite. (Thanks, Mike! :D)

Another one I really like is this disc by Kathleen Ferrier. The first couple of tracks always raise my spirits when I'm down:

I recently missed a severely underpriced copy of her 10 disc Decca set. :-\


I have several of the Debut recitals. I thoroughly recommend the following two.

Firstly, Katerina Karneus accompanied by Roger Vignoles.

Karneus won Cardiff Singer of the World in 1995, It is a mystery to me as to why she is not a high profile star. I have seen her as Octavian and she was superb. An excellent actress, she has a great touch with comedy.

This is a rich voice, but it can scale the heights with an almost soprano tone. Lots of light and darkness. She characterises songs telling a story vividly. The voice is well schooled and she did record an excellent Nuits d'ete that was attached to the BBC Music Mag, but otherwise it is unavailable.

In this recital she has, as do others, mixed standard repertoire with some esoteric material. Richard Strauss, Mahler and Joseph Marx.

I will not give a blow by blow description, but especially like the Mahler, various Knaben Wunderhorn songs, not all from the common collection, indeed some rarely recorded songs that make a nice change and a contained grave and beautiful reading of the Ruckert Lieder.

Vignoles is a real partner and he especially provides an ebe and flow.

The Marx songs are very much in the late romantic German tradition with a twist in the harmonic language. Karneus delivers them with real feeling and detail. He insists on a wide range in the songs and as indicated, this singer has no trouble with the huge leaps and throws the ribons of melody into the air, to let them hang there.


Thanks for the recs, Mike. I don't think I've ever seen/noticed the Debut series before! :o Will have to look around...

Another Debut disc, this time from a singer who may well be familiar. Alice Coote. She was singing Sesto at the Met last week. But I have several times read that she has cancelled concerts at short notice. Usually a real risky thing for an up and coming sinder, but, there she is at the Met.

This is a darker voice, grainy, vibrant, a highly individual timbre. An intelligent singer. Her recital is a fairly extraordinary collection of pieces that in the UK are pretty much regarded as Janet Baker territory, She throws down the gauntlet. At no point did she remind me of Baker, she is working them through for herself.

Mahler songs from Knaben Wunderhorn
Schumann Frauenliebe und leben
Mahler Ruckertlieder
Hayden Arianna a Naxos

The general tone of the recital is quite grave, Julius Drake is a real poet of an accompanist. He creates moonlit landscapes and matches Coote's range of volume. My own feeling is that she does not communicate quite as directly as Baker, but she is very much worth listening to. In Ulricht she is not as hieratic as I like. But in general her Mahler very much suits her. The Haydn is arched well across the various recits and arias, it feels of a piece. She uses the words dramatically. Very much one of the coming voices and this, her first and very bold recital.


My pleasure Mr Osa, I can play this game all night and into tomorrow. I have the Ferrier disc, an unmistakable voice. The opening of the first Kindertotenlieder is like listening to a stained glass window. The voice sounds so immediate as though fresh and happening now, rather than almost 60 years ago.



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