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The Prince Consort - Other Love Songs - Classic FM Magazine


01 October 2011
Classic FM Magazine
Andrew Stewart
5 Stars

Let there be love

The Music Think of 19th-century nationalism and the bourgeois world of domestic music-making, and you'll be close to the creative roots of Brahms's Lieberslieder Walzer (‘Love Song Waltzes') of 1869 and Neue Liberslieder (‘New Love Songs') of the mid-1870s.  Stephen Hough's 21st-century companion pieces view love from a different perspective.

The Performance Hogarth and his mightily talented vocal ensemble shape imaginative readings of each song in turn, introducing subtle tempo changes and vivid tonal contrasts to give rich life to their often dark-hearted texts and real soul to Brahms's music.  Listen to the energy and dynamism in ‘Ein dunkeler Schacht ist Liebe' or the coruscating brilliance of Hough's Julian of Norwich setting, ‘All shall be well', for exquisite examples of outstanding ensemble artistry.

The Verdict The compelling emotional contrasts of this album may stem from its sage repertoire choice, but it's the top-drawer performances and sound recording that separates this outstanding release from the crowd.

 

Why You'll Love This

Brahms in Love

There's clarity and force in Brahms's Lieberslieder Walzer, a collection apparently inspired by the composer's infatuation for Julie Schumann.  The Prince Consort, while ever lyrical and vocally refined, unleashes the inner turmoil of the songs.

Three Hands Better Than Four

Contrary contrasts and divergence colour the surface and substance of Stephen Hough's Other Love Songs.  The pianist-composer underlines the point in his inventive writing for three-handed piano duo, at its finest in the off-key St Trinian's accompaniment to ‘The colour of his hair'.

Rational Romantics

Brahms harnesses the wild passions of folk poetry in his Neue Lieberslieder to music of deceptive simplicity and carefully focused intensity.


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Related Links

The Prince ConsortThe Prince Consort
Other Love SongsOther Love Songs