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Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, December 2016

A triumphant debut recital from one of the most exciting contemporary mezzos, musical in every way, and equally inspired in Ives as in Mahler or Ginastera. An exciting talent to follow. © 2016 MusicWeb International



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, November 2016

Perhaps mezzo Stephanie Houtzeel will be our next Jan DeGaetani or Marilyn Horne, to name two great song recitalists in her vocal range. Her strongest attribute, as revealed from the opening of the first song, is a beautiful tone, evenly produced from top to bottom and easily borne aloft on an effortless legato. No wonder the singer…has an artist’s bio replete with prestigious engagements, …no matter what she is singing, Houtzeel’s voice is ravishing on the ear. I was strongly reminded of the warm, feminine timbre of the rising Scottish mezzo, Karen Cargill. They both possess a voice in a thousand. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Erin Heisel
American Record Guide, September 2016

The performances are great. Houtzeel has a rich, warm, clear voice and Spencer plays each piece with support and character. The pair finds the essence of each piece, whether it be Buchardo’s playful ‘Prendiditos de la Mano’, Ives’s clever ‘Ann Street’, or Mahler’s gentle (and indeed, nostalgic) ‘Ich Atmet einen Linden Duft’. They manage Ginastera’s exposed ‘Triste’ with control and sensitivity. Piazzolla’s famous ‘Pajaros Perdidos’ is the perfect end to this thoughtful and beautifully executed program. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Tim Ashley
Gramophone, September 2016

[Stephanie Houtzeel’s] programme ingeniously mixes Mahler and Ives with a clutch of Argentinian composers including Ginastera, Guastavino and Piazzolla, and the emphasis consequently falls on the intersection between popular or traditional music and classical song. …her Ives is beautifully judged—‘The Housatonic at Stockbridge’ is deeply touching—and the Argentinian songs are done with a depth of sensual feeling that is utterly beguiling. Spencer, an accompanist of choice for so many singers, is at his most persuasive here, too. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, August 2016

This is a delightful and unexpected programme of largely twentieth century music of great beauty.

Charles Spencer is one of the finest contemporary accompanists and he and Houtzeel have an evident rapport and similar sensitivity to both text and music. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Opera Now, July 2016

Stephanie Houtzeel’s glamorous mezzo is put to stunning use… The songs convey just that, each reflecting on a memory of place or mood. …Houtzeel is a member of the ensemble at the Vienna Staatsoper where she sings the major Strauss and Mozart roles amongst others, and it’s easy to see why her career has taken off. Her voice is sumptuous, evenly produced, plush right to the top. She sings confidently in English, German and Spanish and her range of vocal colours is wonderful. She is sassy in Ives’ ‘Ann Street’, luscious in Mahler’s ‘Ich atmet’ einen Lindenduft’, and slinks her way through the Argentinean numbers with judicious portamenti and rhythmic exactitude, but relaxed enough to enjoy the moment. Her accompanist is Charles Spencer, who matches her mood for mood and indulges her sophisticated sense of rubato. © 2016 Opera Now



Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, May 2016

Nothing [Stephanie Houtzeel] sings is perfunctory. She has the ability…of coloring her tones, meaning that she uses very specific sounds on different words and different notes. …for the most part I was absolutely enraptured by her approach. She is an artist, not just a Voice, and heaven knows we need more and more like her in the world.

Moreover, her program is interesting and diverse.

The bottom line is that the entire recital is mesmerizing and holds your attention from first note to last. Strictly as a voice, Houtzeel has a perfectly centered tone with perfect control from the top to the bottom of her registers, yet in the end it is not necessarily her timbre you recall as the way she uses the voice. Occasionally she drains it of vibrato to make a particular note or passage sound more haunting, but for the most part she employs a rich but perfectly controlled vibrato of alluring loveliness.

Houtzeel is a sorceress who holds you in the palm of her hand and doesn’t let go until the final note has died away. © 2016 The Art Music Lounge | An Online Journal of Jazz and Classical Music Read complete review





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