“It is obvious that soprano Laura Claycomb has “lived” with the Brentano Lieder for some time. She sang them with MTT and the Symphony in 2005, and everything about her performance last week showed a deep awareness and understanding of both the text and the music. From the way her posture and demeanor changed with every song to the effortless way in which she blended lyricism with virtuosity, Claycomb captured and conveyed the essence of Strauss’ five Brentano Lieder”
-San Francisco Classical Voice
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“But first, there was the opportunity to savor once again Claycomb’s shimmery, elegant and versatile way with Strauss’ vocal music. . . And the performance was nothing short of magnificent, a virtuoso display of silvery tone and effortless technical agility. These are the qualities that drive much of the composer’s writing for soprano, and Claycomb’s performance seemed to revel in her ability to negotiate the music’s demands without breaking a sweat. The little bursts of notes that punctuate the melody of “Ich wollt’ ein Sträusslein binden” (“I wanted to gather a bouquet”) emerged as colorful sprays, the sonic analog to the flowers in the poem’s text. Similar stretches of rapid-fire coloratura, extended over a longer span, informed Claycomb’s delivery of the final “Amor” (“Cupid”) — an irresistible picture of fluttery wings and quickening emotion. But there were subtler and no less important strokes of brilliance at work as well, including the sepulchral colors and moody phrasing of the opening “An die Nacht” (“To the night”) and the boldly forthright way Claycomb shaped the rhetoric of “Als mir dein Lied erklang” (“As your song rang out to me”). This artist’s treatment of Strauss has that requisite touch of magic, and we don’t hear her nearly often enough around these parts.” -SF Gate.com
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