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Soprano Hanna-Elisabeth Müller’s CD of lieder by Schumann, Poulenc and Zemlinsky comes much heralded, which perhaps is the cause of my mild disappointment. But let’s ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive. Müller has a good range of colours and differentiates her vocal styles satisfactorily. She copes easily with all the vocal demands of her music. Strangely, as she starts in her native German with Schumann, she really bursts into life as soon as she starts singing the Poulenc songs, La courte paille, and becomes more communicative. Müller’s diction throughout is clear. The programme, chosen by her to reflect the theme of love and life, is interesting. And she and pianist Juliane Ruf obviously have a very successful working relationship; everything is balanced and considered and the CD well-presented. But, despite multiple listens, I just couldn’t connect with the songs or singer. It all sounds very organised, very correct, but I missed that spark of something that makes one sit up. Maybe it’s Müller’s soprano, which I don’t find particularly distinctive, charming or moving. I am disappointed to be disappointed. Maybe it’s because I haven’t heard Müller perform live – but then, isn’t that the point of a recording? I never saw Rosa Ponselle but something grabs me when I listen.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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