Label : Warner
Format : Flac (image + cue)
Cover : Yes
Contribution from bruckner13
Although the nickname was a joke, Janet Baker was indeed a rock, of sorts–one of the most consistent, dedicated, and satisfying singers of the later half of the 20th century. She was also unfailingly intelligent, never venturing outside of her Fach, retiring at the right time when still in good voice, and choosing a mix of familiar and less familiar repertoire guaranteed to satisfy fans and critics alike. As a Lieder singer, she had few peers. In opera, she excelled at what might best be called “noble pathos.” No one made the final song of Elgar’s Sea Pictures sound less like “Hello, Dolly!” Her Mahler is rightly revered, as is her French repertoire, from Berlioz to Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Chausson.
Although not a period performance specialist, Baker’s contributions in the baroque and early music repertoire (Monteverdi, Bach, Scarlatti, Handel, Schütz, Dowland, Stölzel) are extensive and remain valid based on her sheer artistry and unfailing emotional truthfulness. Particularly special are her Liszt Lieder, repertoire still too rarely performed, and her Haydn Scottish folksongs (sound clip), which reveal her ability to relax and have some fun without lowering her standards. OK, her English songs are less interesting on account of their quality, relatively speaking, and “Songs for Sunday” can’t help but ooze Victorian sentimentality, but Baker’s earnestness is never for a moment in doubt.