Strauss displays a consistent ability to bring out the best in a singer, and soprano Gillian Keith - accompanied here by pianist Simon Lepper - amply showcases Strauss’ unique reverence for the female voice.
In song-writing, as in orchestral music, Richard Strauss hit his stride early. His range and confidence is displayed in this group of songs; as the selection shows, he wrote some superb examples in his teens, and his mid-twenties was already an assured master of the Lied; mastery which continued to develop into old age.
Generations of singers have been inspired by Strauss’ devotion to song; from the dramatic, to the lyric, to the coloratura. Strauss’ songs offer something very special.
In this recital of specially chosen lieder are many songs which have earned their place in the repertoire, along with less-often heard works such as Mädchenblumen and Drei Lieder der Ophelia, which compliment those more familiar and are at the heart of this recital.
One of Canada’s leading lyric sopranos, Gillian Keith made her Royal Opera Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, a role she has gone on to repeat with great sucess. A past winner of the prestigious kathleen Ferrier Award, she has a natural affinity for Strauss’ music.
"...This recital by Canadian soprano Gillian Keith features Strauss’s real last song, Malven, and an entertaining selection of others, well known and relatively neglected... A whole hour performing Strauss is no easy task for any singer, but Keith emerges with considerable credit. From the beginning the quality of her clear, light, lyrical voice is apparent, and she controls it marvellously, literally breathing life into phrases with thoughtful air control... she brings plenty of apt emotion to Strauss’s settings, tastefully understated and always resolutely supported by Simon Lepper’s near-immaculate piano..."
Byzantion - musicweb-international.com - 27 April 2012