Thursday, 28 June 2012

Magdalena Kozena - Love and longing

Love and longing. CD. 2012. Songs by Ravel, Dvorak and Mahler. Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonics.

Even after pondering the question, I still think that Magdalena Kozena (born 1973) probably has the most beautiful voice around anywhere on stage today. And she just becomes better and better.

In my book, she is essentially a concert and lied singer, though she regularly performs in opera. Projecting mixure of shyness and awkwardness (not vocally mind you) on the operatic stage, I have seen her as both Octavian and Melisande. And her Idamante is available on DVD. However, it is on the concert stage, she does her finest work. And nothing she has done is really better than this recent disc with songs by Ravel (Sheherazade), Dvorak (Biblical Songs op. 99), and Mahler (Rückert-lieder) entitled "Love and longing" in accordance with recent record labelling trends.

With a creamy voice of incredible beauty, even throughout the register, she possesses an instrument as few (really is there anyone else?) today. Combined with profound textual understanding as well as faultless phrasing, I really do not have a critical word to say of this disc. Not to forget the superb accompanying provided by the Berlin Philharmonics under Simon Rattle. They just show us just how important the orchestra is in orchestral songs, with a performance far far above average.

Album trailer:

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):


1 comment:

Matylka Demlová said...

Thanks for sharing your opinion. For me liking Kožená is kind of obligatory because I'm Czech as well. It was also my first experience with opera and Lied (listening to her - I borrowed a CD with her Mozart arias from my music teacher when I was about 16). After I found and listened to many other singers,I didn't listen to Kožená anymore until I have found recently the recording of Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. I was never really into Dvořák and Mahler; I have my favourite pieces and there are such I don't need to listen to. But this Lied was like a miracle to me. I fell in love immediately with it and chose to sing it in my music class; therefore I know that it's not that easy as it sounds. But I really agree with Magdalena in this way - I really love this song and I find it one of the most beautiful.

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