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Hyperion Records

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The Rose Bower by Hans Zatzka (1859-1945)
Josef Mensing Gallery, Hamm-Rhynern, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67602
Recording details: July 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: April 2008
Total duration: 14 minutes 22 seconds

'Wise men have told us that Strauss loved sopranos and looked down on tenors—but here comes a recital by the lower male voice seriously to challenge that belief. Hyperion is an old hand at programming attractively playable discs that make up complete Lied editions … Vignoles's playing continues to achieve a maximum of freshness and invention and a chameleon-like closeness to his singer's tone and line. Kennedy's voice is young, sweet, fluent and has what some commentators call 'sap' … the readings attain a consistently high standard of beautiful music-making' (Gramophone)

'Here at last is a tenor for Richard Strauss … Andrew Kennedy is an eager, bright-eyed lover: the bloom and the tenderness of the middle range of his voice, in particular, know just how to bring a luxuriant, Straussian intimacy t a song such as 'Seitdem dein Aug' in meines Schaute'. Kennedy seems to bond particularly well, too, with Strauss's songs of sadness: the indeterminate harmonies and half-lights of 'Aus den Liedern der Trauer' and the stark ardour of 'Sehnsucht' are impressive … this recital shows glimpses of a future operatic Straussian to watch for' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Andrew Kennedy … gives consistent pleasure with his sweet, sappy tone, free-ringing high notes and keen characterisation. Roger Vignoles's playing is as colourful and eloquent as his booklet notes' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Kennedy's … singing is fervent and he breathes life into these songs without overwhelming them … Kennedy's bottom is secure and his middle range is warm and lustrous … when he employs his soft upper range head voice, the tenderness of his singing is sublime … Vignoles again proves to be the worthy collaborator' (American Record Guide)

'There's no doubt about it now. For anyone who cares about lieder and the music of Richard Strauss this is one of the most significant recording projects in the current catalogue. Thanks to Roger Vignoles it's also shaping up to be one of the best … how good it is to hear a male voice singing 'Ständchen' with youthful ardour and warm, rounded tone … Kennedy has that rare gift among singers of making a song unfold almost conversationally. Not that he eschews the grand manner when it's required … as for Vignoles, just listen to the final bars of 'Winterweihe'. It's a taste of heaven—literally so and pianistically. How I long for the next instalment of this noble project' (International Record Review)

'The third volume of Hyperion’s Strauss song series comes with a tenor riding the chromatic waves. Kennedy’s young voice still has some growing to do in lieder, but his flexible tones and avoidance of the Precious Beautiful Voice give lots of pleasure. Roger Vignoles’s piano accompaniments are superb' (The Times)

'Kennedy's offering is welcome indeed … his range, in terms of pitch and expression, sounds terrific and the quality of his enthusiasm is infectious. The songs themselves are a joy and Vignoles's accompaniment nearly creates the illusion of an entire orchestra' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Andrew Kennedy's tenor is a wonderfully mellifluous, lightly timbred (not lightweight) voice … very accomplished singing' (Fanfare, USA)

'The third instalment in Hyperion's edition of Lieder by Richard Strauss is the first to employ a male singer and, in tenor Andrew Kennedy, Roger Vignoles has picked one of Britain's finest young singers … a fine achievement and an essential addition to any Straussian's or song-lover's collection. Throughout this disc, as with the previous ones, I was reminded simply of how abundant Strauss's melodic gift was; if in this personal and subjective genre he occasionally let himself get carried away, there's so much fine music that it's difficult not to get swept along' (MusicWeb International)

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