Hannigan de Leeuw Vienna album Alpha

Reviews Vienna: Fin de Siècle: “hypnotic”, “sensual”, “thrilling immediacy”

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The Times
(5 out of 5 stars)
Geoff Brown, 21 September 2018
Feverish poetry performed by a seriously sensuous soprano
“Barbara Hannigan and pianist Reinbert de Leeuw cast a spell with Vienna: Fin de Siècle
“It’s clear from this hypnotic and lovely album that the Canadian soprano is a powerful singer of late romantic lieder”
“De Leeuw’s piano playing, gently crisp and penetrating, casts its own spell”
“Highlights? The rich, rotting tonality of Schoenberg’s Op 2 songs; the half voice showcased in Webern’s Am Ufer; the pungent variety of the Zemlinsky selection; and Hannigan’s expressive intensity in Hugo Wolf. Listener concentration is needed, and the furrow the album ploughs is narrow. Even so, great rewards await.”


Télérama
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03 October 2018
“Le duo chant-piano fonctionne admirablement. En empathie musicale et amicale, attentifs au sens autant qu’à la sensibilité de chacune de ces pièces, Hannigan et de Leeuw nous font (re)découvrir un petit théâtre sensuel et raffiné.”


Financial Times
(4 out of 5 stars)
Richard Fairman, 05 October 2018
“Hannigan, with her angelic voice, is always ready to go where other angels fear to tread.”
“Tactfully accompanied by Reinbert de Leeuw, a modern music specialist (though usually as a conductor), she brings to them a delicacy that is at once fragile and tremulously intense.”
“the Webern, her seven Zemlinsky songs and four by Alma Mahler have an intoxicating beauty. Hannigan’s hypnotic singing makes fin de siècle Vienna feel like a city of dreams. Freud would be proud of her.”


Le Monde

Pierre Gervasoni, 14 September 2018
“Leur mise en perspective dans le genre du lied est encore plus édifiante qu’à l’accoutumée, car Barbara Hannigan aborde chaque monologue poétique comme une prise de rôle à l’opéra. L’identification la plus forte s’effectue au bénéfice d’Alban Berg (dont la chanteuse a incarné sur scène une Lulu d’exception), mais la restitution des autres formes de lyrisme (ample avec Arnold Schoenberg, trouble avec Anton Webern, fiévreux avec Alexander von Zemlinsky) repose aussi sur un vécu authentique (approfondi avec Hugo Wolf, immédiat avec Alma Mahler). Et sur le piano de Reinbert de Leeuw, véritable Pygmalion de la soprano canadienne tant il l’a dirigée, comme chef d’orchestre, depuis leur première rencontre dans les années 1990 aux Pays-Bas.”


The Guardian
(4 out of 5 stars)
Andrew Clements, 27 September 2018
“Hannigan’s voice wraps itself lovingly around these vocal lines, savouring every chromatic morsel, and sometimes bleaching her tone until it comes close to sprechgesang.”
“she conveys the trembling fragility and pastel colours of this music with such perfect tact, and De Leeuw measures the accompaniments so precisely, leaving their unresolved dissonances hanging in space, that a whole expressive world seems perfectly evoked.”


concerti.de

CD der Woche
Christian Lahneck, 2 October 2018
“Ob in Bergs „Sieben frühen Liedern“ oder in Wolfs „Mignon“-Vertonungen – das Duo Hannigan/de Leeuw funktioniert prächtig und findet für das Repertoire dieser Scharnier-Epoche zwischen 19. und 20. Jahrhundert die etliche Farben. Heimliches Zentrum sind Weberns „Dehmel-Lieder“, die exemplarisch stehen für die Klangfacetten dieses Albums: geheimnisvoll schleichende Harmonien, zart-gläserne Dynamik, klare Tongebung.”


Europadisc

September 2018
“beautifully committed, engaged and nuanced performances of Schoenberg’s Four Songs, op.2 (1899), Webern’s Five Songs on Poems by Richard Dehmel (1906-08), and Berg’s celebrated Seven Early Songs (1907). De Leeuw’s colourful but supremely sensitive piano playing points up fascinating connections between Schoenberg and Debussy in particular, and both he and the ever-involving Hannigan are thoroughly idiomatic in the expressionistic depths of Webern and the more overtly lyrical outpourings of Berg. This is music in which one feels both performers are completely in their element, with singing and playing of thrilling immediacy.”
“Following the trajectory set by the Zemlinsky and Mahler songs, Hannigan and de Leeuw end their programme at the point where, in their view, it all started: Hugo Wolf’s Mignon settings from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister. … By bidding a tender farewell with Wolf’s extraordinarily prescient music, Hannigan and de Leeuw seem to be inviting us to listen again to the whole programme in the light of its discoveries and connections.”
“And return to it again the listener surely will. … there are few that combine such a sense of sheer involvement, at foreground and deep-background levels, with such a complete awareness of, and identification with, the fin-de-siècle mindset. For that reason alone, lovers of 20th-century art song need to hear this disc. They will find it an immensely rewarding and thought-provoking experience: from these musicians, one would expect no less!”


The Sunday Times

16 September 2018
“Collections by Schoenberg (Four Songs, Op 2), Berg (Seven Early Songs) and Webern (the 1908 Dehmel settings) open the programme, but equally impressive are examples by Zemlinsky, Alma Mahler and Wolf. Hannigan and de Leeuw command this mysterious, disturbingly shaded and sensual music with aptly teasing restraint.”


lalibre.be
(4 out of 5 stars)
12 September 2018
“D’une écriture globalement postromantique, le climat y est fiévreux, complexe et changeant, inspiré par des poètes où Dehmel et Goethe l’emportent, le second saisi par Wolf à travers les sublimes poèmes de Mignon. Les interprètes sont des géants, doublant chacun la maîtrise de leur instrument d’une expérience de chef d’orchestre: bercée ou propulsée par le piano de Reinbert de Leeuw, Barbara Hannigan est d’une créativité incroyable. Et qu’importent les quelques failles de justesse et de stabilité, la voix est à la fois céleste et incarnée et le récit, intensément habité.”


The Scotsman
(4 out of 5 stars)
Fiona Shepherd, 3 October 2018
“This collection of 18 songs by Schoenberg (Vier Lieder, Op2), Webern (Fünf Lieder), Berg (Sieben Frühe Lieder), Zemlinsky (Lieder Op 2,5,7), Wolf (Mignon 1-4) and Alma Mahler (including Die stille Stadt), sung with alluring self-control by Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan with Dutch pianist Reinbert de Leeuw, contains all that symbolised the musical spirit of that time and place: dark sensuality, ambiguous unease, and that unmistakable premonition of all that was to shake the world in 1914.”


OpusKlassiek.nl

September 2018
“It is Hannigan and De Leeuw who, with rare finesse, evoke a special musical language, in which the then still endless possibilities of a new dynamic and characterful semantics are explored.”