Classical CD Reviews

Le Rossignol et la Rose = Chen Reiss, sop./ Charles Spencer, p. – Onyx

Clever programming, excellent production values, and above all sensational singing make for a album destined for many desert island lists.

Published on July 27, 2013

Le Rossignol et la Rose = Chen Reiss, sop./ Charles Spencer, p. – Onyx

Le Rossignol et la Rose = Chen Reiss, sop./ Charles Spencer, p. – Onyx 4104, 71:48 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:

34-year-old soprano Chen Reiss started her studies in Israel but moved to New York at the age of 20. Only three years later she was accepted into the Bavarian State Opera and houses all over the world were toppled by her soon after. This is her third recording (Her CD Liaisons was awarded a “Diapason d’Or” by French magazine Diapason in 2011) and it is a real beauty. Taking the mythic story of the Nightingale and the Rose with the latter’s association with Venus, beauty, the symbol and power of love, and even the deepest and most profound religious symbolism, and the former representing an omen, enthralling song, seeker of things divine, and poetry, there is a potent mix for song styles and incredibly fertile and excessively rich texts that tell of all things associated with the trials, tribulations, and ecstasies of love.

Reiss has selected a wild and wooly collection of songs spanning some 450 years. Some of the 25 songs, like those by Berg, Krenek, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Pauline Viardot will astonish you for their sweetness and utter textual fidelity. And all of the songs (with translations included) spin the common theme amidst an endless variety of stories. Chen Reiss possesses a wondrous instrument of great subtlety and infinite gradations of expression with a fast vibrato, superb intonation, and amazing dynamic control captured to perfection by engineer Alexander Grün. This is one of the best song recitals from all standpoints that I have heard in the last five years. It is simply not to be missed!



1 Sweeter than roses (Purcell)

2 Le rossignol des lilas (Hahn)

3 Rote Rosen (Richard Strauss)

4 Die verschwiegene Nachtigall (Grieg)

5 Die Nachtigall (Berg)

6 Die Nachtigall (Krenek)


7 Roses et papillons (Franck)

8 Le mariage des roses (Franck)

9 Les deux roses (Viardot)

10 Das Rosenband (Richard Strauss)

11 Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne 0.44 (Schumann)


12 Meine Rose (Schumann)

13 An die Nachtigall (Brahms)

14 Zur Rosenzeit (Grieg)

15 Vanne, o rosa fortunata (Bellini)

16 La rosa y el sauce (Guastavino) 2.27


17 Ablösung im Sommer (Mahler)

18 Die Rosenblätter (Meyerbeer)

19 Heidenröslein (Schubert)

20 Ich sah ein Röschen am Wege stehn (Weber)


21 Le rossignol et la rose (Saint-Saëns)

22 Les roses d’Ispahan (Fauré)

23 Shnei Shoshanim (Two roses) (Zeira)

24 A nightingale sings to the rose (Rimsky-Korsakov)

25 A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square (Sherwin)

—Steven Ritter

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