Lotte Lehmann - Victor recordings 1935-40
This is another invaluable example of complete documentation from Romophone, including much material new to the British catalogue. Lotte Lehmann was at the height of her powers as a song interpreter in the late 1930s: the bloom of youth is still in the tone, now enhanced by the experience of many years of stage interpretation. Thus, her characters in extremis become something of a talisman of suffering women. Her impassioned Gretchen in Schubert’s great song is sister to, and inhabits the same world as, Lehmann’s Leonore and Sieglinde. The searing intensity of “Was hor ich alte Laute?” in Schumann’s Alte Laute goes through you, becomes etched in the mind, just as do certain phrases in her operatic portrayals. Yet while the passions are felt on a large scale throughout these songs – has the climax of Brahms’s
Unlike many of her contemporaries Lehmann ranged wide in her choice of repertory. She digs out Jensen’s
However, it is for the Schubert (including the 12 songs from Winterreise, so immediate in effect, no holds barred), Schumann, Brahms and Wolf, more of the last-named than I had remembered, that the myriad admirers of this artist will want these two lavishly filled CDs. I found the transfers clean and clear, but at times digitalization has imparted a slight glare to Lehmann’s tone. I turned to RCA’s disc of selected songs (4/90 – nla) and found the sound there a shade warmer – try Schumann’s Fruhlingsnacht (on both) if you can, and the point is made. But this offering, which includes titles unpublished until that RCA issue appeared, is an essential addition to the Lehmann discography on Compact Disc.'