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Wigmore Live Song

Songs by Schubert, Mahler and R Strauss

Dame Margaret Price (soprano) Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Recorded live at Wigmore Hall, 08 December 1987


Schubert Schwanengesang, Gesänge des Harfners and other Lieder

Peter Schreier (tenor) András Schiff (piano)
Recorded live at Wigmore Hall, 01 July 1991
[79 mins]

For full detailed track lists click on the link at the top


These two new releases of vocal recitals at Wigmore Hall exemplify the latest developments in 21stC communications; opening up examples of the best of London's chamber music and song recitals to new audiences worldwide, for those unable to get there, and as souvenirs for others who were fortunate enough to have attended the carefully selected and historic events being made available.

Both convey the potency of live music-making over studio perfectionism, with its obsessive elimination of every unwanted interference by cough, squeaking chair or any sound of the real world outside. Not that there was much to disturb listeners now at these special occasions, Margaret Price's debut appearance at Wigmore Hall, and Schreier's at the last event before the hall closed for a year long refurbishment.

Both were in peak voice at the times and partnered by exceptional pianists; Parsons, who had devoted his career to working with other musicians ("one of the supreme accompanists of the second half of the 20th century") and Schiff, a famous concert soloist who has become a great chamber music partner, especially inisghtful as a duo partner for singers.

Wigmore Hall bills its "soloists" and their pianists as equals (see the Wigmore Live CD covers) and so does Musical Pointers in its reports (pace Susan Tomes in The Guardian!).

Margaret Price, then mezzo, was Teresa Berganza's understudy (q.v. Berganza master classes this month) when she made her Covent Garden debut as Cherubino; this recital finds her in control of subtleties which are not always possible in the opera house. Schrier likewise, as recorded here in association with BBC R3, gets across constant responses to words and phrases in his flexible timbre, as does Schiff in his newly minted reponses to harmonic shifts in his voicing of the piano parts.

Two memorable hours at the Wigmore Hall to enjoy in the comfort of your own home!

© Peter Grahame Woolf