One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Alma MAHLER (1879-1964)
Lieder und Gesänge
Fünf Lieder [12:42]
Vier Lieder [11:58]
Fünf Gesänge [16:26]
Patrizia MONTANARO (b. 1956)
Canto di Penelope (Rosaria Lo Russo) (Melologue for soprano/actress and piano) [21:37]
Catharina Kroeger (soprano)
Monica Lonero (piano)
rec. October 2014, Digital Records, Rome, Italy
Sung texts available online

Alma Schindler studied composition from the age of sixteen and later met Alexander von Zemlinsky, with whom she also studied. When she met Gustav Mahler in 1901 she was forced to give up her studies and her composer career. At the end of his life Gustav had second thoughts and in 1910 he helped her publish Fünf Lieder. These songs were probably composed a decade earlier. After Gustav’s demise she published two more groups of songs: Vier Lieder (1915) and Fünf Gesänge (1924). Another two songs were published posthumously in 2000.

From time to time some of her songs appear in recitals and there have been a number of recordings. I have reviewed a couple of discs with the early Fünf Lieder (review) (review) and have a BIS disc from 1995 with songs by Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn besides of Alma Mahler’s songs: the Vier Lieder plus two songs from each of the other groups. The singer is Christina Högman. There are also at least three issues with all her songs. On Ondine Finnish mezzo-soprano Lilli Paasikivi sings all sixteen with orchestra accompaniment by Jorma Panula; on Ruth Ziesak, Iris Vermillion and Christian Elsner perform the 14 originally published songs with piano accompaniments by Cord Garben and with Alma’s teacher Zemlinsky’s songs Op. 7 as fillers; on Globe Charlotte Margiono sings all sixteen with orchestra and with Zemlinsky’s Waldesgespräch as filler. I haven’t heard any of these.

The present disc includes only the fourteen songs published during Alma’s lifetime. It’s a pity the two posthumous songs were omitted; there is space left. We don’t know much about the chronology of the songs, since few of them are dated or mentioned in her writings. However the Vier Lieder published in 1915 are more modern, harmonically, than the other two groups. Generally all the songs are well crafted and appealing though rather anonymous. Her ability to marry text with music is anyway conspicuous and it is valuable to have the songs collected in good readings. Catharina Kroeger has an agreeable, rather bright soprano and she sings sensitively and with fine nuances.

The “filler”, Patrizia Montanaro’s Canto di Penelope, has, as far as I understand, no connection with Alma Mahler – unless we regard both as strong-willed women. But while Penelope has been known for her fidelity to Odysseus, in spite of having many suitors, Alma Mahler seems to have been fairly promiscuous. Canto di Penelope was composed in 2003 for Catharina Kroeger, and it is subtitled Melologue for soprano-actress and piano. It is a fascinating work that takes some time to come to terms with. The vocal part ranges from spoken lines via Sprechgesang to pure singing. It is intense, dramatic and in long stretches also beautiful, although there are no melodies in the conventional sense. The piano part is very expressive. The texts are available at but I would have preferred to have the translations side by side, not on separate pages.

Though not a genius – as her husband certainly was – it is still good to have Alma Mahler’s songs available at an affordable price – and in the bargain one gets the fascinating challenge of Canto di Penelope.
Göran Forsling

Mahler songs
Fünf Lieder:
1. Die stille Stadt (Richard Dehmel) [2:40]
2. In meines Vaters Garten (Otto Erich Hartleben) [5:26]
3. Laue Sommernacht (Otto Julius Bierbaum) [1:52]
4. Bei dir ist es traut (Rainer Maria Rilke) [1:52]
5. Ich wandle unter Blumen (Heinrich Heine) [0:52]
Vier Lieder:
6. Licht in der Nacht (Bierbaum) [3:28]
7. Waldseligkeit (Dehmel) [2:31]
8. Ansturm (Dehmel) [1:39]
9. Emtelied (Gustav Falke) [4:10]
Fünf Gesänge:
10. Hymne (Novalis) [4:58]
11. Ekstase (Bierbaum) [2:35]
12. Der Erkennende (Franz Werfel) [2:48]
13. Lobgesang (Dehmel) [3:05]
14. Hymne an die Nacht (Novalis) [3:20]



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan