Soiree - Magdalena Kozena & Friends
Soirée captures the atmosphere of informal, domestic music making. Czech star mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená offers an intimate and highly personal collection of international songs together with an outstanding group of musical friends, including Sir Simon Rattle, who makes his recording debut as a pianist. The German lied is represented by Brahms (Two Songs, Op. 91 and Five Ophelia Songs, WoO 22) and Strauss (Morgen!), the French chanson by Chausson (Chanson perpétuelle) and Ravel (Chansons madécasses), and 20th-century avant-gardism with Stravinsky’s Three Songs from William Shakespeare. In between these explorations, Kožená revisits her musical roots with a selection of Dvorák songs, arranged by Duncan Ward, as well as Janácek’s Nursery Rhymes. Soirée is the second release of Magdalena Kožená’s exclusive collaboration with PENTATONE, after having presented the baroque cantatas recital album Il giardino dei sospiri in 2019.
Kožená is very much at home in this repertoire. Her beautifully produced, glowing tone absorbingly catches the predominantly fleeting moods of these parlour songs. She is accompanied by a mix of seven instrumentalists, whose playing is first-rate; that includes Rattle in his recording debut as a pianist. Soirée was not recorded in the Rattle household but under studio conditions, using the renowned acoustics of Meistersaal, Berlin. The sound engineers for Pentatone provide remarkable clarity and satisfying balance on this hybrid SACD (I reviewed it on my standard player). In the booklet, Kožená gives a short foreword. The essay by James Parsons is helpful and easy to read. I am grateful for the full sung texts with English translations in the booklet.
Magdalena Kožená is at her most engaging in this exquisitely performed chamber collection of songs.
– MusicWeb International
Release Date: September 13, 2019
Catalog Number: PTC5186671
Number of Discs: 1
Period: Romantic, Contenporary
Composer: Ernest Chausson, Antonin Dvořák, Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Leoš Janáček
Performer: Magdalena Kožená, Simon Rattle, Wolfram Brandl, Rahel Rilling, Yulia Deyneka, David Adorjan, Andrew Marriner, Kaspar Zehnder