Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder - Phyllis Curtin. Helsinki, 1963. BONUS: Act II of Tosca - Curtin, Corelli, Rayson
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Phyllis Curtin was a soprano’s soprano. She never became an international sensation, but she did have a devoted following who valued her voluptuous voice, rock solid technique and, above all, the intelligence that she brought to everything that she sang. This performance of the Four Last Songs captures her at her vocal peek and she rises to the demands Strauss famously put on his sopranos all while conveying the text with an intimacy and immediacy that you usually only hear on the recital stage. Her ”Im Abendrot” is particularly remarkable for the way she caresses each word creating music even out of the consonants. Since the Four Last Songs are relatively short I have included Act II of Tosca featuring Curtin and Franco Corelli. The two works make strange bedfellows, but highlight Curtin’s astonishing versatility and uniqueness.