G. Schunk
Das Opernglas (Germany)

The CD of Richard Strauss songs, published by Melba Recordings, was recorded in August 1999 in Australia with the State Orchestra of Victoria under the direction of Simone Young . Steve Davislim , whose musical career brought him – just like Simone Young – from the 5th continent to Europe, is the soloist. Young’s focus as a conductor lies with Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss in Hamburg, where since 2005 she has acted as both the intendant and general musical director, and this present recording is an eloquent credential.

In Mondscheinmusik from the opera “Capriccio” she skillfully employs her intuitive sense of sound to portray the levitating mood of a moonlit night with a gentle horn solo and creates resounding exhilarated rhythms in the 2nd sequence of waltzes of “Rosenkavalier”, without imbuing too much Wiener Schmäh, or Viennese esprit de corps.

From Richard Strauss’ rich vocal oeuvre, comprising almost 250 pieces, 16 songs written between 1897 and 1906 were selected. Apart from “Allerseelen”, “Zuneigung”, “Traum durch die Dämmerung”, “Ich trage meine Minne”, orchestrated by the conductor and composer Robert Heger, and “Ständchen”, orchestrated by Felix Mottl, all other orchestral versions were penned by the composer.

In these songs, Davislim is able to unfurl the entire range of his vocal skills. With his voice, proficiently held through all the registers and from piano to vigorously flourishing high notes, he skillfully and convincingly conveys profound feelings of love such as in “Ständchen”, “Zuneigung”, and “Liebeshymnus”. “Ruhe meine Seele” is simply moving, “Befreit” and “Morgen” go straight to the heart. It should also be noted that the lyrics can be clearly understood.

Simone Young embeds the voice in heightening, levitating, but also intensively powerful orchestral sounds, carrying the soloist and positively accentuating his voice with Straussian timbres.