Known to opera audiences world-wide for her portrayals of, among other characters, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), 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, to familiar territory, 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. Stenhammar's contributions are all settings of poems in Swedish, but even though Sibelius and Grieg are represented mainly with settings of German texts – with the notable exceptions of Grieg's emblematic En Svane (A Swan) and Sibelius's Norden (The North) and Skogsrået (The Wood-Nymph) – a tendency to give nature a musical leading role is evident. The programme closes with a single song by Hugo Alfvén – Skogen sover (The forest sleeps) – which illustrates this perfectly: as the forest goes to rest in the white night of a Nordic June, her lover (the poet? the composer?) keeps watch over her.
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