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Schumann, Staern, Scriabin & Sibelius

Carina Vinke (alto) & Hanna Shybayeva (piano)

A fine debut CD from Holland, with a well balanced programme impeccably performed.

You may wish at first that they'd chosen some less popular Schumann songs, but this is as strong and moving an account of Frauenliebe & Leben as you're likely to encounter.

A song cycle (originally with ensemble) by Benjamin Staern* gives this disc its powerful centre, with the Swedish texts by Transtromer translated into English. Hanna Shybayeva has some Scriabin preludes, which gives balance to the whole, and to finish she contributes powerful accompaniments to a group of Sibeius songs.

On YouTube, you can enjoy Hanna in an intriguing open-air performance of the of the Eroica finale for piano quartet !

Privately produced to a high standard this can be purchsed through the websites of each artist and of Benjamin Staern, who has been featured by Musica Pointers and wrote for us about the 2006 Stockholm New Music Festival, since when he has developed into a composer to be reckoned with.

This debut disc, engineered and presented in an attractive format, is recommended stongly and is definitely worth seeking out, particularly for mezzo fanciers.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* See/hear excellent introduction to Benjamin Staern's clarinet concerto