Dame Janet Baker (b.1933) needs no introduction. During her illustrious career, which spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s, she was considered an outstanding singing actress and concert performer, widely admired throughout the world for her dramatic intensity and musical intelligence, notably in the works of Gustav Mahler. John Shirley-Quirk (b.1931) made his operatic debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1961, and was prominent in performing and recording the vocal works of Benjamin Britten (as was Janet Baker). He appeared regularly with all the major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world. Steuart Bedford (b.1939) was also associated with the music of Britten, and conducted the world premiere of Death in Venice in 1973. Between 1974 and 1998, he was one of the Artistic Directors of the Aldeburgh Festival.
These 46 songs show Wolf at his most captivatingly individual. Many of them are brief fragments of fantasy, which call for the most intense artistry if their meaning is to be fully communicated. Dame Janet Baker expresses the wide range of emotions inspired by love with searching perception.
John Shirley-Quirk has a true understanding of the lyrical impulse that fills the wonderful love songs given to the male interpreter.
Steuart Bedford has devised his own sequence for the songs and is an equal partner in portraying the conflicting emotions contained in Wolf's work.
This BBC recording is in excellent stereo capturing the atmosphere from the Aldeburgh Festival in Snape Maltings in June 1977.
The recording has never been issued before.
This is Janet Baker's only recording of the Italienisches Liederbuch in its entirety.
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