"Although Sarah Connolly and I haven’t worked together all that much, I have made it my business to know and watch her for some time. She’s an incredibly important artist, very much in the Janet Baker line of great British mezzos. Her sound has a most individual timbre, unlike anyone else’s. I find it very beautiful. But it’s powered by her intelligence and imagination, which means that her music-making is particularly characterful. She is an instinctive musician with a natural intensity which she brings to a wide repertoire, from Berlioz to Baroque music. This is a wonderful time for her, as she reaches her maturity. All the work that she’s done until recently was preparation for the glorious sounds that she is now able to produce. With that potential, there’s no knowing to what heights she can aspire."
The Guardian - August 2006
"...The recorded sound is very good. I thought the balance between singer and piano was fine throughout, which is pleasing since Eugene Asti’s excellent playing is a vital component of the success of this recital. This is a gem of a disc. Strictly speaking the CD’s title is, of course, somewhat inaccurate because we get a good deal more than one hour of Miss Connolly’s singing. However, that’s an "inaccuracy" that I’m very happy to forgive and there’s no inaccuracy in describing the recital as exquisite. I enjoyed this disc immensely and I know I will return to it in the future with great pleasure."
MuiscWeb - March 2006
"Sarah Connolly’s programme ranges from Haydn to Brahms, Hahn to Korngold, Weill to Britten. The purity of her phrasing and an emotional commitment that is always controlled but utterly sincere are just two of the elements that make this a very rewarding recital, recorded live at St John’s, Smith Square, London." ***
Classic FM Magazine - April 2006
"Recorded live at St. John’s, Smith Square. this recital displays several aspects of the mezzo’s artistry, from a noble account of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos to two songs from Weill’s One Touch of Venue. In between come seven Brahms leider, including a radiant ‘Von ewiger Liebe’, five songs by Hahn (L’heure exquise’ is alone worth the price of the disc) and four by Korngold in which Connolly’s lovely singing reaches to their sensuous core. The excellent pianist is Eugene Asti, always sensitive and supportive."
Sunday Telegraph - 22 January 2006
"Connolly makes full use of her considerable dynamic range throughout this classy recital, recorded live at St John’s, Smith Square, London, October. Her atmospheric mezzo is well suited to heartache, and her subtle lamentations and cries of anguish clearly define the stricken heroine in Haydn’s cantata Ariadne.
The ensuing seven songs by Brahms are beautifully paced - with her Feldeinsamkeit of particular note, along with the wistful Du unten im Tale and the tender Die Mainacht. The poignant pieces by Reynaldo Hahn and Erich Wolfgang Korngold are also sensitively sung, with Eugene Asti’s piano devoting particular attention to their restive harmonies." ****
The Times - 4 February 2006
"A national treasure for a good many years, this recital bears witness to Connolly’s mastery of a number of strands of the mezzo repertoire, all delectably sung [and] well chosen to display the ripe bloom of Connolly’s voice."
The Evening Standard - 10 February 2006
"This recital displays several aspects of the mezzo’s artistry, from a noble account of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos to two songs from Weill’s One Touch of Venus. In between come seven Brahms lieder, including a radiant ’Von ewiger Liebe’; five songs by Hahn (L’heure exquise is alone worth the price of the disc) and four by Korngold in which Connolly’s lovely singing reaches to the sensuous core."
The Telegraph - 22 January 2006
"Sarah Connolly presents not only an exqusite hour but a full 75 minutes of French and German song, exquisitely articulated and accompanied. Connolly woos her audience with the calling-card for any and every mezzo: Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos. And every second of its nervous and emotional life - its hopes, fears and final despair - are uncovered in Connolly’s superbly observant voice and imagination. For Brahms, Connolly and Eugene Asti capture both the tenderly elusive ardour of the folksong, and the finely nuanced legato of those shadowy songs which hover between dream and waking reality. Here, Connolly holds back the words, weighing and weighting them to free the fierce inner passion of a song like ’Von ewiger Liebe’. Her exquisite hour is Verlaine’s and Reyanldo Hahn’s - and Connolly responds tellingly to this composer’s uniquesly sweet-scented archaism.
Korngold and Weill receive a delicious sprinkling of stardust as both singer and pianist relax into cabaret mode, and every word is cherished and most poignantly projected. Connolly concludes her recital with two delightfully unpredictable encores by Ireland and Britten. Her final Tit for Tat becomes a heartfelt and dark questioning of what is, and what is not, true sportsmanship."
BBC Music Magazine - March 2006
"Sarah Connolly recorded her latest album live in front of a hugely enthusiastic audience at St John’s Smith Square in London last October. It’s a hugely impressive disc, testifying to the versatility and range of a singer who has already drawn comparisons with Janet Baker.
The high points include some wonderfully rapt Brahms - particularly Die Mainacht, in which time seems to stand still - and a very erotic group by Reynaldo Hahn. Connolly sounds gorgeous in Korngold, too, though he wrote better songs than those included here. Less successful, perhaps, are Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos, the opening item in the concert, where you sometimes feel her voice isn’t quite sufficiently warmed up, and a couple of Kurt Weill’s Broadway songs, where she occasionally sounds a bit too refined.
Songs by Britten and Ireland form the encores. Eugene Asti is her sensitive, technically assured accompanist." ****
The Guardian - 10 February 2006
"Fresh from her recent triumphs at Glyndebourne , ENO and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, one of our most refined mezzos gives us an eclectic recital recorded live at St John’s, Smith Square. From Haydn and Brahms to Korngold and Reynaldo Hahn, Connolly’s innate musicianship combines with her warm, lustrous tone and immaculate diction to offer new insights into familiar works and a few welcome discoveries. Connolly’s meticulous attention to detail also adds new lustre to songs by Kurt Weill, John Ireland and Benjamin Britten which complete a programme as revelatory as it is enchanting."
The Observer - 12 February 2005
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