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Cat. No. CHAN 10492 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10492 - Schumann: Songs of love and loss
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Audio Sample

Available From: 01 October 2008
It is often claimed that Schumann’s late songs, which include the first seven on this CD, show a composer in decline – a charge that is refuted by such wonderful Lieder as the Wilhelm Meister settings and ‘Nachtlied’ (Goethe), ‘Der Einsiedler’ (Eichendorff), ‘Aufträge’ (L’Egru), ‘Mein schöner Stern!’ (Rückert), ‘Requiem’ (Dreves), the Lenau settings of Op. 90 and the Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, all of which are as fine as anything Schumann wrote in 1840, his great ‘song’ year.

The album’s key work is the rarely recorded Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart, songs on five poems attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots. They were his last Lieder and the most austere that Schumann ever wrote. He composed the set in 1852 during a period of deep depression and offered the work as a Christmas present to his wife, Clara. It is also matched here by ‘Requiem’, setting a translation by Leberecht Blücher Dreves of an old sacred Latin text. This requiem, from Op. 90, was one of four that Schumann composed in the last years of his creative life, and it seems likely that the proliferation of such settings around 1850 had symbolic import – ‘requiems, after all, are written for oneself’, as Schumann once confided to a friend.

"Sarah Connolly’s beautifully sung Frauenliebe und –leben often called to mind Janet Baker’s early recording with Martin Isepp. From the sad reverie of the opening song , Connolly, like Baker, gives the cycle a more melancholy introspective cast than most ... Connolly’s is a psychology convincing reading, abetted by the fastidious, if sometimes self-effacing, Eugene Asti ...  Connolly also makes an eloquent case for some much-malinged late Schumann, singing the bleak, confessional Maria Stuart songs with the touching directness and intimacy of feeling that mark her whole recital."


"Sarah Connolly reveals much of the composer’s fervent inwardness – something she and her accompanist, Eugene Asti, capture so well throughout. Connolly’s light, focussed mezzo brings a sense of emotional fragility to the Maria Stuart songs, too, withoutseeming over-ponderous. Connolly creates a special sense of intimacy here which also characterises her performance of Frauenliebe und-leben - warmly breathed and beautifully shaped.

BBC Music Magazine

"Connolly has waited long for her due recognition – at least on disc – as one of the world’s most versatile mezzos, but with her Covent Garden debut later this season, and this exceptional new Schumann recital, one can justly claim that she has arrived… Connolly, in sumptuous voice, brings these songs and the two great cycles vividly to life."

The Sunday Times

"Her assured phrasing and rich, warm voice breathe life into Schumann’s two great song cycles."


"Deeply felt, meltingly phrased and probingly thoughtful accounts of some of the greatest songs ever written."

Classic FM Magazine

"Schumann’s love songs play to the strengths of Sarah Connolly’s rich and characterful mezzo. There is much to enjoy here from both Connolly and the illuminating accompanist Asti."

The Times

"Connolly’s warm, amber mezzo is a beautiful instrument and, in tandem with the discerning Eugene Asti, she gives deeply felt performances of all three."

The Telegraph

"Another delight for a worthy recipient is Sarah Connolly’s CD of Schumann Leider - Songs of Love and Loss."

The Singer

"Leiderkriess is superbly done - an unnerving voyage through a soured Romantic landscape, awash with intimations of the horrors that lurk unsuspected in the corners ofd the psyche. Asti is her breathtaking fine accompanist."

The Guardian


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