Known to opera audiences worldwide, Camilla Tilling is also a dedicated recitalist. On two previous BIS releases, the Swedish soprano and her musical partner Paul Rivinius have interpreted Strauss as well as Schubert, to critical acclaim: 'Tilling takes her place among the leading Strauss sopranos of the day' (Sunday Times); 'a Schubert recital of rare pedigree' (Gramophone). On her present offering she turns northwards, interpreting songs by Grieg, Sibelius and Wilhelm Stenhammar. The disc takes its title from an early song by Stenhammar, I skogen ('In the forest'), and many of the selected songs are either played out in or depict natural settings, in a manner we are familiar with from Nordic composers.
Saint François d'Assise is unique among operas. Decidedly anti-dramatic (there is little or no action), it fulfills Messiaen's aim to present the journey of St. Francis' soul toward grace. St Francis advises another monk, Brother Leon; he meets a leper, kisses and cures him; he encounters an angel; he preaches to the birds; he prays for and receives the Stigmata; he dies. The tempo, save for a few moments, remains stubbornly moderate; if you do not give in to this fact and wish for something else, you're lost.
–Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
The Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling here performs songs by Franz Schubert, accompanied by Paul Rivinius. The disc includes some of Schubert's best-known songs, such as the carefree An Silvia, the serene Litanei, and the first Suleika song. The programme features great changes in emotion: from the portrayals of the joy and despair of young love in Bei dir allein! and Lied des Florio, to the Gothic drama of Der Zwerg and the despondency of Totengräbers Heimweh.
Richard Strauss, the great composer of symphonic poems and grand operas, wrote solo songs throughout his life: his first compositions, performed within his family circle, were songs and his setting of the poem Malven (Mallows) was to be the last piece he completed. Taking a keen interest in the possibilities and limitations of the human voice, Strauss in the solo song genre found the opportunity to try out various musical options and to discover his own individual style. But the writing of songs also served as a form of relaxation, a way of passing the time. The result is a varied spectrum of atmospheres, moods and emotions: from the jesting tone of Hat gesagt — bleibt’s nicht dabei to the heart-felt declaration of love in Cäcilie and the portrayal of madness of the Three Songs of Ophelia.