Live from Salzburg is a new CD featuring music recorded live at Salzburg during the pandemic. The performers are Elīna Garanča, The Vienna Philharmonic and Christian Thielemann. There are two sets of songs; Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder (recorded in 2020) and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder (recorded in 2021). Both recordings were made during live performances in the Großesfestspielhaus.
I like Garanča a lot in this music. Sometimes I find her a bit “cold” but here there’s a really nice balance of emotion and clarity. Her articulation of the text is excellent and she sounds good throughout her range. The lower and middle ranges have a kind of burnished quality; not really dark but definitely not soprano like , while her upper register is controlled and smooth. The low end is perhaps best heard in Um Mitternacht where she shows real power and depth of emotion.
Thielemann does what Thielemann does, which is to get extraordinary detail and clarity out of the orchestra. Each instrument and texture is clearly articulated to the point where it’s easy to focus on any given instrumental line. The orchestra come through for him too. This is very fine playing. The balance between orchestra and singer is really good too. None of that would matter if the disk were not well engineered but it really is. The physical CD is standard CD quality (44.1kHZ/16bit) but it sounds better. I also had access to a hi-res .wav version (96kHz/24bit) which is even better with slightly more dynamic range and a more open top end. The commercial release offers the higher resolution version in FLAC format.
I’m sure every one has favourite recordings of these much recorded songs but this one is well worth a look, even in such a crowded field.