MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

  2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk
Stanczyk Acousmatic Music

Oropesa

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

 

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Das Lied von der Erde (version for chamber ensemble by Arnold Schoenberg, completed by Rainer Riehn) [62:01]
Gerhild Romberger (mezzo), Stephan Rügamer (tenor)
Detmolder Kammerorchester/Alfredo Perl
rec. 17, 21-22 October 2013, Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster
MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 90118456 SACD [62:01]

Mahler never heard Das Lied von der Erde, his penultimate completed work, nor the Ninth Symphony, which followed it closely. He was probably working on them more or less simultaneously. Despite his state of health, he managed not only to complete the full score of Das Lied, but also to prepare a version with piano accompaniment in place of the orchestra. There is however a third version, started by Arnold Schönberg — who saw Mahler as his mentor — in 1920, and scored for a chamber orchestra. Schönberg didn’t finish the arrangement, but his detailed notes enabled the German composer Rainer Riehn to create a performing edition in 1983.
 
There are strong arguments in favour of reducing the orchestration. Because Mahler never prepared the work for performance, he was unable to make the many changes and adjustments he customarily did for his other works. There are two solo voice parts, tenor and mezzo-soprano, who have three movements each. In live performances, it is always a struggle for them to be heard properly, however sensitive the orchestra and conductor may be. Mahler uses a pretty large orchestra, and may have needed to remind himself that it’s very different for soloists on a concert platform from the operatic stage, where the singer is raised above the orchestra, who are furthermore in a pit. The idea of a reduction makes a lot of sense, and Schönberg went for quintets of solo strings and wind, plus piano, celesta and full percussion.
 
Does it work? Yes and no; the smaller-scale central movements do gain in clarity, and the tenor, for example, can characterise the third movement, ‘Von der Jugend’ (‘About Youth’) and bring out its delicate humour. The big outer movements, with their grand climaxes and teeming textures, are a different matter. Here even a chamber ensemble can make enough noise to cover a singer who has anything less than a genuinely big voice.
 
That is undoubtedly a problem for Stephan Rügamer on this recording. He has a light, quite small voice, and in the opening ‘Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde’ (‘Drinking Song of the Earth’s Sadness’), though his accuracy is remarkable, we often lose the beginning of phrases that begin lower down in the voice. He sounds sorely pressed at the huge central outburst, with its chilling graveyard vision of the ape. He is much more at home in ‘Von der Jugend’ and in the fifth movement, ‘Der Trunkene im Frühling’ (‘The Drunkard in Spring’), where he handles the dizzy solo part brilliantly.
 
The mezzo Gerhild Romberger has a splendidly firm sound, beautiful throughout the wide range required. She also uses her voice intelligently, finding a different, darker tone for the long-awaited ‘friend’ who arrives towards the end of the ‘Abschied’ (‘Farewell’). Her problem is that she can sometimes sound emotionally disengaged, lacking in musical and poetic insight into this highly charged music.
 
Schönberg’s orchestration — and its completion by Riehn — does present problems, chiefly connected with the role of the piano, which can make the ensemble sound a bit like a school orchestra – not, I hasten to add because of the quality of the Detmold players, which is excellent, but because it evokes that memory of the music teacher at the piano desperately ‘filling in’ all the missing parts. Listen to track 1, around 1:55, where there is a trumpet solo which is re-scored for the piano, and you’ll see what I mean – it happens again later. Something also goes badly awry at around 6:20 on track 4, ‘Von der Schönheit’; either there is an error in the bassoon part, or the player has got his fingers in a tangle, as he ends up trilling on the wrong note.
 
To balance these negatives, there are some wonderful moments where the reduced instrumentation greatly enhances clarity – in the last movement, for example, for the little outburst of bird-song at ‘Die Welt schläft ein’.
 
This is a highly creditable recording; but it is up against some very stern competition, from an unexpected source. A few years back, Philippe Herreweghe, best known for his Bach, made a wonderful CD of this version of Mahler’s masterpiece with the Musique Oblique Ensemble . The balance of the instrumental forces works far better, and he has two quite superb soloists in tenor Hans-Peter Blochwitz and mezzo Birgit Remmert. Blochwitz has exactly the right blend of heroism and lyricism in the ‘Trinklied’, thrilling and moving. Remmert rivals Janet Baker in her heartfelt sensitivity – and there cannot be higher praise than that. If you want this version of the work, that is the one to go for; it’s on Musique d’Abord HMA 1951477.
 
Gwyn Parry-Jones