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Seen & Heard
Editor in Chief
|Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Das klagende Lied (I. Waldmarchen (Forest
Tale): Langsam und traumerisch [30:25]; II. Der
Spielmann (Minstrel): Sehr gehalten [16:55]; III. Hochzeitsstuck (Wedding Tale): Heftig bewegt [19:39])
(soprano); Michelle DeYoung (mezzo); Thomas Moser (tenor);
Sergei Leiferkus (baritone)
San Francisco Symphony Chorus
San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
rec. live, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, 29-31 May,
2 June 1996; remastered 2007. DDD
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
is a beautifully performed and recorded performance of a relatively
little-heard early work by Mahler. The distinctive shimmery
sound of the San Francisco Symphony is captured to perfection
on this SACD. The re-mastering of a 1996 RCA Red Seal recording,
released last year, creates a big, clean, dynamic sound. Even
with ordinary CD playing equipment, the quality is excellent.
Michael Tilson Thomas, their chief conductor, is marking himself
out as a Mahlerian who is simply going from strength to strength.
This disc is taken from a series of the composer's work which
the MTT and the SFSO are recording together, three of which
have been Grammy award-winners. Further details are available
at the SFS website.
klagende Lied (Song of Lament) sets a myth - partly derived
from the stories of the Brothers Grimm - in a large-scale
work in three sections for orchestra, choir and four vocal
soloists. This piece, completed when Mahler was only twenty
years of age, is arguably the first in which his distinctive
style became fully apparent. This in itself gives it importance.
However, it is still an early work and Mahler's talents have
not yet been honed.
music is very firmly in the romantic tradition, untempered
by other influences or approaches. At times Mahler's wanderings
come close to losing their way; the listener's interest would
be more easily maintained by more change of pace and dynamics.
Some might consider the piece over-long and under-edited. No
doubt it will be a draw for those with a serious interest in
Mahler's music, but it could not be argued to be the easiest
or the best introduction to this composer's considerable talents.
are other good recordings available too: in particular, I would
pick out Chailly, with the Berlin Philharmonic (2003) - which
has the very considerable attraction of Brigitte Fassbaender's
singing; and Simon Rattle with the CBSO (1997) - always an
enjoyable combination and especially so in Mahler.
disc is probably unnecessary as an addition to the existing
editions of this work, apart from to complete a collection
of the very commendable San Francisco Edition of Mahler's works.
Otherwise, it has in its favour excellent playing and recording
with good modern sound. MTT is in my opinion an excellent Mahlerian,
but so is Rattle! The choice is yours.
see also Tony Duggan’s
survey of Mahler song cycles
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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