Elisabeth Grummer (soprano) with Aribert Reimann (piano).
Lieder by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schoek &
Orfeo C 506 001 B
These performances were recorded 1963-68 in Mono by this widely admired lyric
soprano, with the composer-pianist Aribert Reimann, then around 30.
Elisabeth Grummer (1911-86) had a brilliant international operatic
career, but is also well remembered for her concert hall performances.
Active until 1972, this CD finds her in fine voice, with an ease and purity
of tone production that leaves you wondering if any editing had been necessary.
Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben is given with an engaging simplicity
and directness, which dismisses thoughts about its sentimentality and political
incorrectness. There are continual, delectable subtleties of phrasing, rhythm
and word painting from Grummer and her alert, sensitive pianist.
There are four of Wolf's Spanish Songbook, and some rarely heard songs included,
with five of Mendelssohn's and nine of the prolific Swiss opera and lieder
composer, Othmar Schoek, whom she had championed.
The recording and remastering are entirely satisfactory, but there are no
words or translations supplied, and only a few sentences about Schoek. For
this reason I cannot award maximum star rating. Those for Schumann's
Frauenliebe und -leben and from the Wolf Spanischen Liederbuch
can be found in the indispensable The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder
(Gollancz) and a number of others can be located, with a fair amount
of effort, in Emily Ezust's treasure-trove at
Peter Grahame Woolf