The German soprano Juliane Banse has sung the Lieder of Brahms, Schubert, Wolf, Ullmann, Strauss, Schumann, Loewe and Berg, earning a reputation for both the quality of her interpretations and the warmth of her timbre. She and her regular partner Martin Helmchen, who has just joined Alpha, have chosen to record Paul Hindemith’s song cycle Das Marienleben, composed in 1923 and revised by the composer in 1948. A bewitching, sometimes disturbing cycle whose texts, taken from the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke, retrace the life of the Virgin Mary. Fifteen poems, fifteen episodes tinged with mysticism and lyricism. They proved to be the ideal inspiration for Hindemith, whose compositional style here draws on both the power of Wagner’s operas and the subtle nuances of Debussy.