One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Fünf Lieder nach Rückert (1901-2) [18:02]
Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Drei Lieder (1892-1901): Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt [3:37]; Das irdische Leben [2:33]; Urlicht [4:45]
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1883-5, orch. 1893) [15:20]
Kindertotenlieder (1901-4) [25:47]
Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Ricardo Chailly
rec. February 1988, January and March 1989, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Dahlem, Berlin. DDD
DECCA PRESTO CD 425790-2 [70:44]

I doubt whether Brigitte Fassbaender ever made a bad recording. While not everyone may respond to her forceful style and the insistent timbre of her mezzo-soprano with its occasional heavy vibrato, for me she remains one of the supreme exponents of the Lied as an art form. Her voice has always been highly distinctive: rich, vibrant, with exemplary diction and a facility for dramatising text without undue exaggeration. The sheer weight, intensity and volume of her tone colouring makes her especially suited to the darker, more sorrowful songs in this collection. She can conjure up a peculiarly poignant kind of plangency, close to tears, yet I find her to be equally successful in the lighter songs, exuding the kind of bucolic insouciance they demand.

Her voice is recorded quite forwardly here, such that orchestral detail is just occasionally slightly obscured, but by and large the sound is first rate. As always with this singer, there is a slight spread at the top of the voice at high volume but not distractingly so. It remains secure over a wide tessitura, from a ringing top to its thrilling excursions into the resonant lower register. She can be quiet and restrained when necessary. You may hear the subtlety and steadiness of her vocalisation in the piano passages of that talismanic song “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”, where she deliberately drains her voice of its natural vibrancy to mesmeric effect.

While I have never in general been a fan of Chailly’s Mahler recordings, which to my ears have been too cool and forensic, I salute his work here; the orchestral playing is exquisite.

German texts and English translations are provided in the booklet.

Ralph Moore
 


 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger