Das Lied Von der Erde Hybrid SACD
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Digital Booklet: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth)
Digital Booklet: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth)
. This new Pentatone issue surely is among the top current versions. Marc Albrecht has been music director of the Netherlands Philharmonic since 2011, after the tragic early death of Yakov Kreizberg. This site mentioned Albrecht's remarkable Dukas/Ravel/Koechlin disk (REVIEW), his Schumann/Dvorak/Berg disks (REVIEW) and his superb Elektra with the Netherlands Opera (REVIEW). This new recording shows his Mahler credentials in a major way. He is sensitive to the ever-changing moods of this masterpiece, and the orchestra plays magnificently. And he has superior soloists indeed. Alice Coote is outstanding, her warm controlled sound and wide range are perfect for this music, and the tenor, Burkhard Fritz, copes easily with the demanding tenor part. Fritz is relatively new to the operatic world but has been widely acclaimed for his performances during the last decade at the Vienna State Opera, the Munich Opera, and the Berlin State Opera. Obviously he soon will be a prized heldentenor. Add to this Pentatone's superb engineering, and you have an extraordinary disk. --Robert Benson http://www.classicalcdreview.com/MC426.html
Meine Antwort hierauf würde "bedingt" lauten. Albrecht dirigiert zunächst sehr verhalten, sehr zurückgenommen, so dass das Werk weit weg rückt von jeder sentimentalen Anmutung (und hiermit liegt er sozusagen im aktuellen Trend). Mitunter enstehen aber Längen, als ob er den Spannungsbogen nicht ganz halten kann (v.a. über das ganze Werk bezogen). Und er tut sich mitunter auch mit der vertrackten Rhythmik des Werkes schwer (und ist entsprechend auch keine Unterstützung für die Sänger). Und erst im letzten Lied, im "Abschied" findet er zu wirklich großer Form. Das gilt letztlich auch für die Sängerin A. Coote, die v.a. im 4. Lied rhythmisch gehörig ins Schwimmen kommt und mit so mancher Vokalfärbung ringt, aber im letzten Lied zu einer großen, sehr leisen, verinnerlichten Intensität findet.
B. Fritz müht sich in seinen Liedern ganz schön, einmal mehr hört man, wie knifflig Mahler hier komponierte, was er seinem Tenor hier abverlangt.
In der Summe also keine Top-Aufnahme, aber eine berührende, v.a. der Abschied ist ganz wunderbar gelungen.
Gemessen an großen Aufführungen unter Walter oder Giulini kann diese Aufnahme nicht ganz mithalten. Aber hat unbestreitbar ihre Meriten. In der Summe also 3,5 Sterne.
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As I really don't need to need to add to my collection of now 71 recordings of this work, with which I am obviously obsessed, It was primarily as a souvenir of a great performance that I decided to purchase the disc-not a great reason, I admit-but BOY! Am I glad I did as the whole enterprise is absolutely superb!
The recording is in the most spacious detailed sound I can recall, with incredible transparency, even in the weightiest moments, and I have heard orchestral detail never before revealed on recording-and this is in stereo!
In SACD it is even more astounding-true "state of the art".
The voices are captured in an ideal vocal balance, just as one would hear in the concert hall, occasionally coming near to but just avoiding being swamped by the orchestra-and what an orchestra!
I am totally taken aback by the virtuosity of the playing of the Netherlands Philharmonic-the richness of the brass, the lush sonority of the strings, the crystalline brilliance of the high woodwinds and the impact of the percussion give us one of the most impressive orchestral performances against ALL rivals-Vienna, Berlin, BRSO and Concertgebouw included!
The Netherlanders yield nothing in terms of sheer excellence to their colleagues in the Concertgebouw.
Marc Albrecht is a conductor for whom I have had muted enthusiasm in the past-but here he excels, taking a forthright, thrusting view and shaping individual sections in an original and telling manner.
I don't agree with reviewer "Entartete Musik" (in the UK) that the opening of Von der Schoenheit is flaccid-I find it touching and delicate, and entirely in keeping, but he is right about the overall tenor of the work being more wistful and a touch sad rather than the devastating outpouring of tragic longing that it can be-and this does indeed work perfectly as a valid and rewarding view of this endlessly fascinating piece.
I had not heard Burkhard Fritz before, though I was aware that he has sung Parsifal in Vienna and Florestan and Cavaradossi in Berlin under Barenboim, and so I was hopeful that he would give a good account-and I am happy to say that it is better than good, it is very fine indeed. He has the standard Germanic slightly nasal tone, and reminds me of Michael Schade, and both Kollo and a steady Peter Hofmann. He surmounts the high peaks with a steady powerful legato, and sings beautifully in the more reflective moments. His is not the biggest voice, and does not banish thoughts of other favourites-Wunderlich (of course), Heppner (for Bertini), Christian Elsner, Araiza (for Giulini live with the VPO), Kmentt (for Kubelik) James King and of course Kollo (with Bernstein)-but I will return to his performance with pleasure.
Finally to Alice Coote. I prefer a lighter voice in this work, rather than the darker contralto tones we often hear, and Alice Coote has just the right instrument, to my ears. She sings with infused vulnerability, her tone seeming likely to crack at times under the restrained emotion-it doesn't of course, this is just great artistry, and she gives a touching and beautifully interpreted reading of each song.
Der Abschied is a triumph for her, Albrecht and the orchestra-It will not leave you devastated and totally drained as can happen in a great performance, because it is not intended to. It is wistful, nostalgic, a touch defiant and finally comfortable with the resignation of the inevitable. I love it- I was moved and uplifted in equal measure.
There are so many great recordings of this work that comparisons are odious and outright recommendations impossible-how many would you like?
What I will say is that this recording holds its own up among the very finest in every respect-and there is certainly no better recorded version.
A fascinating and in many respects revelatory account-if it appeals, buy with confidence!!
5 Glorious Stars, Stewart Crowe.
Marc Albrecht brings an operatically dramatic sense to the work, with a sense of attempting to project the meaning behind the proceedings as the music unfolds - as opposed to the unfortunate tendency of too many recordings that sound like a mere time-beater is standing on the podium by comparison. Phrases that are too commonly simply played through by the orchestra on other recordings give the impression of being "sung" by the instrumentalists in this performance, as if Albrecht and the orchestra are equally engaged in Mahler's "message" along with the two soloists.
The Netherlands Philharmonic, being a Dutch orchestra, has a sound very similar to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, which is therefore, of course, perfectly idiomatic for anything by Mahler. Their performance throughout DLVDE seemed every bit as good as I would have expected from the Concertgebouw themselves, very enjoyable and flawless to my ears.
One thing I really enjoy about the tenor, Burkhard Fritz, is that he never seems to be yelling at me. There are far too many tenors who, to my ears at least, sound like they're yelling at me (somewhat) on pitch, which I always find disconcerting. Rene Kollo on Karajan's DLVDE does a far job of avoiding this, but James King on the Haitink-Amsterdam recording is just dreadful in this regard. Some listeners might consider such a "yelling" approach as simply being highly dramatic, perhaps in an operatic sense, but you can have it, as far as I'm concerned. DLVDE is a symphony of songs after all, not an opera. Fritz's performance is very appropriately leaning more toward a musical approach (as opposed to a "dramatic" approach), and seems very nicely successful at it to my ears.
Alice Coote is the best part of this album for me, however. I prefer a lighter sound than the "matronly", heavier-sounding approach commonly favored by such performers as Kathleen Ferrier, Christa Ludwig, or Janet Baker, wishing instead for a Kathleen Battle-type of sound. Interestingly, one of the composers Battle become best known for early in her career was Mozart, and according to Coote's biography included in the notes with this recording, Mozart is one of the composers Coote is best known for as well.
While Coote's sound isn't anywhere nearly as light and airy as Battle's renowned Das Himmlische Leben (from the Maazel-Vienna Sym # 4 recording), it's still a big step in that direction from the Ferrier-Ludwig-Baker recordings that I've previously heard. Coote's voice still has plenty of weight and expressive power for the lower tessitura passages, but she also has a lightness and clarity of diction that I find very refreshing to listen to.
The recorded sound from Pentatone is similar to what I have experienced on other Pentatone releases, which means that it's outstanding. The sound seems completely natural, with the listener placed in the front part of the hall, where there's plenty of impact and clarity to the proceedings, but enough distance to still have plenty of ambience. The multi-layered details of Mahler's intricately-complex orchestration come through with excellent clarity, even in the loudest passages, such as the center section of Von der Schönheit.
For anybody else looking for a Mahler Das Lied von der Erde, this Albrecht-Netherlands-Coote-Fritz version will get my very happy recommendation.
I skipped immediately to the crowning glory of Mahler's score, Abschied, the half-hour song that concludes the work in heartbreak and transcendence. Set against fine playing from the Netherlands Radio Phil., Coote has been captured a little to far away, in a fairly resonant ambience, for optimal impact. But there's no doubt that she is a very musical, sensitive singer, one of the best to be heard in this movement since Baker (I'd add Anne Sophie von Otter and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, neither of whom made commercial recordings, unfortunately, along with the great Christa Ludwig, who made several). Coote's voice is beautiful and she communicates a rapt sense of loneliness and serenity, the very hallmark of the song. Yet I'm not quite sure we're hearing the full stretch of her involvement, because conductor Marc Albrecht's anodyne orchestral work is nothing special - if only Coote had had an Abbado, Jurowski, or Gergiev to work with. Albrecht's rendition of Abschied is basically shapeless; even so, Coote rises to intense emotional heights on her own.
Listening to the song cycle from the beginning, tenor Brukhard Fritz strives manfully with the demanding first song, and given his fairly light voice - no doubt the microphone is a big help - he sounds musical and effective. There's a ringing quality to his upper middle range that's welcome. I'd rank him a few notches below Peter Seiffert, whose voice this one resembles. Albrecht is considerate about not overwhelming his soloist, which always happens in concert with Mahler's large orchestra. The major attraction here is Coote, and she could hardly be bettered in the second song, a long span of wistful melancholy. The fourth song always posses a challenge for the singer to keep up in the fast, low-lying passage about galloping horses. Coote manages very well, and another plus here is PentaTone's transparent sound, revealing every grain of Mahler's magical orchestration.
So it's five stars for the female soloist, which is more than enough incentive to be enthusiastic about the whole recording, since nothing around her is less than good.