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Elisabeth Schumann
Mozart and Viennese Operetta Aria Recordings (1926-1938)

Mozart Alleluia: L'amero saro costante; Non so piu: Venite, inginocchiatevi: Voi che sapete: Deh vieni: Batti, batti: Vedrai, carino
Johann Strauss II: arias from Die Fledermaus
Zeller: Der Vogelhandler
Ziehrer: Die Landstreicher
& Viennese popular songs
Various conductors

Naxos Great Singers 8.111100 [TT: 72 mins]

If you have had a more delightful Christmas CD than this, I congratulate you. Schumann's pure silvery soprano is unique, and can be heard to perfection in these splendid transfers by the always reliable Mark Obert-Thorn.

The full biographical notes tell us how, when only seven, the Vienna Opera star-to-be used to creep out of bed and house to get herself let into the opera by a friendly usher!

Despite a chaotic personal life (three failed marriages and Klemperer publicly whipped by one of her outraged husbands!) she evinced unalloyed charm in her singing, with exactly the right Viennese inflections for the lighter arias and songs in this collection.

The several conductors include Walter Goehr, well remembered in London for his work with Morley College and pioneering premieres of Monteverdi's Vespers and Messiaen's Turangalila. My own indelible memory of Schumann live was at the Proms, in radiant form depicting Mahler's vision of a children's Heaven (Symphony No 4).

Peter Grahame Woolf