Lucy Crowe & Anna Tilbrook - Longing. Lieder by Strauss, Berg, Schoenberg - Gramophone

Crowe’s low-vibrato vocal precision is a plus for bringing clarity to the mysteries in Schoenberg’s Op 2, though her best moments are in Berg’s songs. Those more serpentine vocal lines do seem worked into her voice – discreet portamento and all – in ways that much of the Strauss is not, giving interpretative freedom allowing her to bring confiding intimacy to ‘Die Nachtigall’. With a dry-sounding piano that sounds like a period instrument, Anna Tilbrook successfully reimagines music often heard in orchestral versions, especially by revealing the inner workings of the Four Last Songs. The long opening of ‘Im Abendrot’ becomes much more an inward contemplation than a rapturous vision experienced on the outside. In the extended postlude, the lark-like trills have even more impact than in the orchestral version because they have less sonic competition from the notes around them. Since the Four Last Songs reflect a lifetime of experience, the art of suggestion is paramount here, and Tilbrook has it.

13 October 2021