Album: Boldemann/Gefors/Hillborg, Orchestral Songs – Von Otter/Nagano/GSO (Deutsche Grammophon)

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The Independent Culture

With texts by Petrarch, Heine, Meilhac and Halévy, Hjalmar Söderberg and Edgar Lee Masters, this programme is as revealing of Anne Sofie von Otter's interest in poetry as it is of her musical personality. Anders Hillborg's "...lontana in sonno..." is a soundworld of scudding strings and introspective horns.

Hans Gerfors's "Lydias Sanger" is more operatic, rich in parodies of Weill and Wagner. Less involving is Laci Boldemann's "4 Epitaphs", which loses intimacy in this fluffy arrangement. Accompanied by the Gothenburg Symphony, von Otter sings each note and word as though it were the most fascinating she had ever encountered.

Pick of the Album: Gefors's setting of Heine's 'The Sphinx'