Maureen Forrester: Song Cycles
Label: Gala (Canadian Indie)
Maureen Forrester - contralto, John Newmark - piano, New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter - conductor
Robert Fleming: The Confession Stone (Songs of Mary)(21'16)
This new commemorative disc, containing the Schumann song cycle 'Liederkreis' Op.39, Robert Fleming's 'The Confession Stone', and most of all, her incomparable 'Abschied' from 'Das Lied von der Erde', is an affectionate tribute to a great artist. She was and remains the greatest contralto Canada has ever produced. Forrester's voice was truly a force of nature, a voluminous sound noted for its dark, opulent timbre, used with intelligence and discerning musical taste. She sang with the greatest conductors, but it was her collaboration with Bruno Walter on Mahler that was unforgettable. The maestro was so taken by Forrester's voice that he coached her in Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde', a work close to Walter's heart, since he conducted its premiere six months after the death of Mahler. Their collaboration was captured in a live recording of Walter's very last 'Das Lied von der Erde', with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1960. Her "Abschied" on that occasion was supremely moving, a continuous, 30-minute lyrical outpouring that combined tonal beauty and a deep sense of spirituality. A great champion of contemporary music, she sang many works written for her by Canadian composers. Forrester was particularly fond of 'The Confession' featured on this disc, written for her by Canadian composer Robert Fleming.