Elisabeth Söderström, soprano
Paul Badura-Skoda, piano
Astrée, 1984, 1991
Goethe, together with Schiller, was the favourite poet of Franz Schubert, who used many of his poems to compose his music. It also happened that the young composer hoped to receive the poet’s permission to dedicate a cycle of Lieder to him, but the attempt was a failure. However, it is no coincidence that Schubert’s first masterpiece of the genre is Gretchen am Spinnrade (1814), based on the text of Margarethe’s famous ballad in the first part of Faust (the songs is the last track of this album).
Elisabeth Söderström, here accompanied on the piano by Paul Badura-Skoda, offers a fresh and vivid interpretation of Schubert’s Lieder and, despite she was almost sixty years old when she recorded this album, her execution is animated by a sincere youthful spirit. The Swedish soprano sings with a silvery and pure voice and suggests a rich range of colours and nuances, giving the constant impression of having understand the text intimately. Moreover, her execution is remarkable for her total surrender to the music, which is always in the foreground.
Paul Badura-Skoda, for its part, does not only accompany the singer, but is able to give his personal mark to the music.