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Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 3/2003
Piano Magazine, Coup de cœur
24 Heures, Coup de cœur

On this disc are Debussy settings of verse by Verlaine, Mallarmé, and others; the poetry is evocative to begin with and the music further highlights the sense of a scene appearing before one's eyes. The fecundity of the composer's imagination is underscored by the inclusion of two versions of "Clair de lune" - each seems perfect, yet they are subtly different in mood and effect. The Mozart selections splendidly complement the Debussy pieces. ... Banse has an interesting and richly textured voice with a confident top. It's a flexible instrument, as manifested by the trills of "Pierrot" or the gorgeous melismatic passages of "Pantomime." The singer is clearly capable of power but knows when to scale back to suit the material. She sings with an extraordinary sensitivity to the texts. ... Schiff, of course, functions here as far more than a mere "accompanist" - he's an equal partner. The piano parts for the Debussy songs are nearly as remarkable as the composer's much better known solo keyboard pieces, and Schiff is fully responsive to the possibilities.
The Absolute Sound

Debussy and Mozart would seem to make the unlikeliest of bedfellows, especially in the field of song. .. Yet it is typical of ECM's sense of adventure that the result should be so convincing, in a winning recital by a singer known for her Romantic repertoire and a pianist renowned for his Mozart. Banse has the measure of the furtive, often ecstatic characterisation required for the selection of Debussy's songs included here, chiefly settings of Paul Verlaine. ... Two French songs by Mozart provide at least a linguistic link between the two composers, but the bulk are in German, including the familiar Goethe setting, "Das Veilchen". Banse has just the right sense of tonal purity to make this change of tack work, while Schiff has the full measure of both composers.
Matthew Rye, Daily Telegraph

Banse is a smooth-toned lyric soprano whose voice, as much as repertoire, recalls Felicity Lott in its easy compass and thoughtful poetic response. Adept in both the flash of Mozart's "Der Zauberer" and the seductiveness of Debussy's "Beau Soir", Banse conjures an intimacy rarely encountered in recorded recitals: it is Schiff's delicacy that really makes this disc: from the infinitessimal gradations of tempi in "Abendempfindung", to the soft warmth of "Dans un bois solitaire".
The Independent on Sunday

Mozart and Debussy are unexpected partners, but Juliane Banse and András Schiff make this a rewarding relationship. For both composers, song composition played a comparatively minor role in their maturity, though each achieved masterpieces in the genre. Here they are, brought together: chalk and cheese' No, for both are marvellously gifted composers. And their performers, too, are greatly gifted. The very different demands of Mozart and Debussy are met with absolute dedication. ... Banse and Schiff impress with the beauty of their performances, their insight into the contrasting claims of detail and overall design.
Peter Branscombe, International Record Review

Aus Debussys aufgelösten Metren und Formschemata scheinen nicht psychische Abgründe, sondern verlorene leuchtende Schönheiten auf. Juliane Banse und András Schiff bringen diese auf unerhörte Art zum Blühen. Banses dramatischerer Gestus und Schiffs verinnerlichte Begleitung mischen sich bei aller Expressivität zu geradezu erdentrücktem Glanz, der schließlich auch eine Reihe Mozart-Lieder umfasst und deren überraschende Kombination mit Debussy plausibel macht.
Michael Eidenbenz, Tages-Anzeiger

Verwegene Kombinationen laufen schnell einmal Gefahr, sich der Effekthascherei verdächtig zu machen. So meint man auch sogleich den Impuls durchschaut zu haben, der es erlaubte, die gegenseitige Befruchtung des heiter-unbedarften Liedschaffen Mozarts mit den ungleich schwüleren Versvertonungen eines Debussy zu erzwingen. Doch nichts wäre leichtfertiger als das. Dann zumindest, wenn mit Juliane Banse und András Schiff Künstler am Werk sind, die diesem Ansinnen mit viel Fingerspitzengefühl zu einiger Glaubwürdigkeit verhelfen. Mit unvergleichlich warmem, erdigen Ton gelingt es der Sopranistin denn auch dem berauschenden Parfum der Lieder Debussys nachzuspüren - und sie mit viel Sinn für Differenz und organische Kontinuität mit dem unbedarft-heiterem Liedschaffen Mozarts zu verweben. Die ebenso sensible wie beseelte Unterstützung durch András Schiff machen diese Einspielung schließlich zu einer musikalischen Köstlichkeit.
Anja Lachmann, Musik & Theater

Mariage improbable - à ce train là, on nous fiancera bientôt Brahms avec Gershwin. Et pourtant, on aurait aimé un plein album Debussy avec l'admirable duo que forment Banse, l'une des sopranos les plus attachentes de sa génération, et le piano subtil, parfaitement intégré à la ligne de chant, mais diseur aussi, d'András Schiff. Car l'extase "d'Apparition", les langueurs parfumées des "Ariettes oubliées", l'humour bergamasque de la "Pantomime", les pâmoisons immobiles des "Fêtes galantes" et même leurs "fantasqueries", sont de vraies réussites, jamais cherchées, toujours trouvées.
Jean-Charles Hoffelé, Diapason

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