Related Reviews
THEABSOLUTESOUND.COM
'young and fresh-sounding.'
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Gloucestershire Echo
'Astounding with a powerful performance...'
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The Observer
'...the whole coming to a glorious conclusion in the final Neue Liebeslieder quartet, as fragrant and luxuriant as a rose in full bloom.'
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The Times
Contemporary composers credit a new generation of fearless singers with firing a boom in song cycles.
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Pizzicato
5 Stars
5 stars from Pizzicato!
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American Record Guide
'Everything, though, is competently done; and it is a pleasure to hear that Hough, already one of our best pianists, is a composer to be reckoned with'.
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Classic FM Magazine
5 Stars
'...top-drawer performances... outstanding release...'
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Gramophone
'...these fresh and direct performances have much to commend them.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'...finely judged, delightfully youthful performances...'
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Klassik.com
'The sound is focused, clear, vivid and the balanced vocal and instrumental parts are very successful.' (translated from German)
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International Record Review
'They are throughout crisp, fresh, speedy, intelligent, well recorded, with good German...'
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MusicWeb International
'...an attractive, fun and well executed album...'
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Radio New Zealand
'This is a highly accomplished group...'
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Nottingham Post
4 Stars
"...vividly presented by Alisdair Hogarth and the five voices of his Consort."
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theartsdesk.com
'...experience goosebumps of delight...'
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allmusic.com
'...a choice worth considering...'
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Audio Video Club of Atlanta
'...sharply defined point making and the scintillating edge the members of the Prince Consort impart to their vision of Brahms.'
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The Guardian
'...such fresh-toned performances by the five singers of the Prince Consort...'
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The Observer
"...original and beguiling, the performances first rate."
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Somewhere Boy
'For all of these multifarious influences, Other Love Songs feels remarkably unified...'
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musicOMH
5 Stars
"Other Love Songs is a thrilling addition to its genre...I heartily recommend it."
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Words and Music
'...light, frothy performances; they make the sung waltz sound the latest craze.'
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
"A marvellous disc...This release can't be too highly recommended on any account."
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The Scotsman
4 Stars
'...the personable voices of The Prince Consort...'
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The Lebrecht Report
4 Stars
'...rather wonderful...'
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musicOMH
'As close to an ideal performance of the two Brahms sets as I can imagine.'
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Classical Music Magazine
"The Prince Consort is anything but average - innovative programming and first-class performances mark it out as one of the most distinctive presences on today's concert scene."
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The Prince Consort - Other Love Songs - Audiophile Audition


30 August 2011
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
4 Stars

My favorite to this point for the Brahms works has been the EMI recording with Anne Sofie von Otter, Kurt Streit, Bengt Forsberg, Barbara Bonney, Helmut Deutsch, and Olaf Bär. That is a beautifully recorded disc that also has the Spanische Liebeslieder, Op. 138 as well. But there are many others, including a fabulous version with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers on Telarc that includes some miscellaneous songs too. In fact, there are around 20-25 readings of these pieces available, and many are quite excellent. Okay, face it-these pieces are not really the most difficult things in the world to sing, and often require less stringent interpretative nuance than many of Brahms's other works. But they still have to be in tune, properly balanced, and done with the correct degree of style and spirit, and that means a very deep acquaintance with the art of the ländler, that rustic, pre-waltz form that so attracted Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler-and yes, Brahms himself.

In other words, there has to be a certain sense of the amateur in performances of these works without sounding amateurish. They have to have the sense of a party about them, a soiree, a good time, a get together with friends out in a parlor on a Sunday afternoon. And the voices, while needing to blend properly, can't be too perfect, which really is what we get on the EMI recording and so many others. The voices here, all of up-and-comers, are just new enough to not take themselves too seriously and concentrate on the virtues of the ensemble (when needed-some are solo vehicles) as opposed to the glories of individual voices.

These were very popular in Brahms's day, the first set following the composition of the German Requiem (one of his greatest successes), while the second set, much more somber in tone and deceptively serious, preceded his First Symphony. Almost all of Brahms's early works were enormously and immediately popular. The Prince Consort is young enough to not be intimidated by anyone and make a really carefree run at these pieces, to great effect.

The Hough premiere was commissioned by the Prince, and the composer set out to take on the theme of love, but not romantic between a man and a woman, but focusing on "different" kinds of love-I'll let you read the texts to see how different they are. He also avoids waltzes, which is a good idea coming between the two Brahms sets as it serves as a very nice bridge and transition, amazingly so. These are profoundly lyrical pieces of intensity and excellent craftsmanship, making me want to hear more of Hough's music, as I have known him to date only as a pianist-clearly there are other sides to the man.

The Prince performs perfectly in these works, and the surround sound is elegantly displayed to wonderful purpose, proving once again that Linn is on the ascent when it comes to audiophile recordings. Very nice indeed.
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The Prince ConsortThe Prince Consort
Other Love SongsOther Love Songs