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David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, March 2013

Soile Isokoski sings them very beautifully indeed…the same care for phrasing, ease of navigating those wide vocal lines, and intelligent projection of the text are clearly in evidence. She’s easily a match for Felicity Lott (Chandos) and Judith Howarth (Nightingale), and in truth all three are very good; but forced to choose Isokoski takes the prize.

Okko Kamu and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra provide first class accompaniments, and the voice is very well balanced against the often large ensemble…this is a very welcome addition to the Strauss discography, and a release that further attests to Isokoski’s mastery of this repertoire. © ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, February 2013

As it happened I listened to Brilliant Classics’ reissue of the Philips recording of Der Rosenkavalier from 1976 just hours before I played this present disc. On the old set Evelyn Lear was a great surprise as Marschallin, singing with deep and impeccable feeling for the text and the music. Isokoski probes even deeper, singing with more face. Her warm but glittering timbre makes the ‘time’ monologue even more touching. I may be affected by having seen Isokoski in the role but I don’t think this is the only reason. In the earlier monologue—which on this disc comes second—she recalls the young woman who came fresh from the convent and was ordered into holy matrimony. She looks in the mirror, saying: Wo ist die jetzt?(Where is she now?), sighs, and continues: such’ dir den Schnee vom vergangenen Jahr (look for the snows of yesteryear). One hears her resignation, her thought that ‘one day I’ll be an old woman’. This is not only sensitive singing but even more a psychological portrait of Marie Therese. In a flash she sees both the past and the future in one picture, underpinned by the music. This is opera at its most subtle.

Much the same can be said about the long closing scene from Capriccio. The two Elisabeths, Schwarzkopf and Söderström with rare insights into the predicaments of Madeleine, have long been my touchstone interpretations. They remain so but are now joined by Soile Isokoski. Truth to tell there are signs of strain in some high-lying passages, but this is still Strauss singing of the highest order.

Ondine’s recording is excellent. The Helsinki Philharmonic play extremely well under the inspired direction of veteran Okko Kamu. The orchestral introduction to the Capriccio is ravishing. As with the two previous Strauss recitals by Soile Isokoski this is a disc not to be missed. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




David Shengold
Opera News, February 2013

The current release finds [Soile Isokoski] working with countryman Okko Kamu and a resilient, glistening Helsinki Philharmonic on [Richard Strauss’] rarely-heard Three Hymns (Op.71), plus more familiar excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos and Capriccio.

Isokoski’s voice remains in pristine shape, its steadiness and accuracy of pitch a joy to hear. Ariadne’s two monologues show exhilaratingly steady and controlled vocalism over a wide range. The Helsinki ensemble’s…admirably clean playing is persuasive. Isokoski sounds glowing and apt—and more emotionally transported…

The Drei-Hymnen, together lasting twenty-two and a half minutes here, don’t get much exposure in concert or on recordings. This radiant traversal by Isokoski and Kamu may win fresh attention for these hymns to various aspects of love. © 2013 Opera News



Dianne Wells
The WholeNote, October 2012

…Three Hymns/Opera Arias featuring another expert Strauss interpreter, Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski whose powerful and luminous voice soars over the Helsinki Philharmonic in excerpts from Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Rosenkavalier and Capriccio. Although the Three Hymns, Op.71 is a work rarely recorded because of its almost excessive demands for the soloist, Isokoski clearly has the fortitude to carry off a brilliant performance. © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, October 2012

…we have this superb collection of music of Strauss that includes excerpts from three of her signature roles: Der Rosenkavalier, Capriccio, and Ariadne auf Naxos. We also have Three Hymns, three songs about the power of love to texts by Friedrich Holderlin composed in 1921. It is remarkable that these beautiful songs are seldom performed—they would have been perfect for Leonie Rysanek. Isokoski’s singing is equally radiant, and it is a pleasure to experience her confidence and beauty of tone in their very difficult music. Audio is just fine. An important issue. © 2012 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review






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