Vier letzte Lieder

Jessye Mae Norman (USA)
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig / Kurt Masur
Philips 6514 322 [1983]
Recording date: 8-1982
Recording venue: Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig (D)


7 thoughts on “Vier letzte Lieder

  1. Brian Jones

    I remember the first time I heard Jessye Norman. It was a televised celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. At the start they went live to the Place de la Concord where this titan of a soprano sang La Marseilles. I was floored. I was amazed. I was in love.

    1. williamcullum Post author

      As far as I’m concerned, her’s is the gold standard for this piece. The Nazi Schwarzkopf recorded it first and knew Strauss so her tempos are probably closer to Strauss’ intentions but Norman is by far my favorite.

      1. Andrew

        Couldn’t agree more. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the Jessye Norman recording but any version I’ve subsequently heard lacks the breadth of phrasing of hers. She sure has one amazing set of lungs. didn’t know Betty Blackhead was a Nazi but like you I find her version pretty anaemic. IRT tempi which are much slower with JN I’d say they were chosen to match what Schwarzkopf could (or couldn’t do).

  2. Steve Smith

    I’ve been listening to this since about 1982. Its been with me in all the places I’ve lived and travelled to in the last 30 years. Always keeps me amazed and delighted!

      1. Andrew

        Good choice. i can think of few Recordings more beautiful than hers. It’s definitely on my desert island disc collection. What else would be on yours?

  3. williamcullum Post author

    I’m pretty fond of Gardiner. Mozart Mass in Cm with Bonney and Von Otter, Bach Bm mass, Volodos playing the Rach 3 with the (alleged) pedophile James Levine (oh, no he dinnit). Callas’ Carmen. Shostakovich opus 110, and beethoven quartet 130 with the gro├če fuge as the fourth movement. I’m sure there’s others.


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