Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Color and Drama in Two Choral Requiems from Post-Napoleonic France

The Requiem text has brought out the best in many composers. Requiem settings by Mozart, Verdi, and Fauré are among the most beloved works among singers and listeners alike, and there are equally wondrous settings by Berlioz and Duruflé, as well as composers from before 1750, notably Jean Gilles.

Kathleen Ferrier - "new" recordings

Kathleen Ferrier Remembered, from SOMM Recordings, makes available on CD archive broadcasts of British and German song. All come from BBC broadcasts made between 1947 and 1952. Of the 26 tracks in this collection, 19 are "new", not having been commercially released. The remaining seven have been remastered by sound restoration engineer Ted Kendall. Something here even for those who already own the complete recordings.

Matthias Goerne - late Schumann songs, revealed

Matthias Goerne Schumann Lieder, with Markus Hinterhäuser, a new recording from Harmonia Mundi. Singers, especially baritones, often come into their prime as they approach 50, and Goerne, who has been a star since his 20's is now formidably impressive. The colours in his voice have matured, with even greater richness and depth than before.

LALO and COQUARD: La Jacquerie

La Jacquerie—here recorded for the first time—proves to be a wonderful opera, bringing delight upon delight.

Urania Remasters Marriage of Figaro

Good news for lovers of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro: the famous Living Stereo recording, a co-production of RCA Victor and English Decca, is now available again, well remastered, on Urania.

Opera Rara: new recording of Bellini's Adelson e Salvini

In May 2016, Opera Rara gave Bellini aficionados a treat when they gave a concert performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, at the Barbican Hall. The preceding week had been spent in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, and this recording, released last month, is a very welcome addition to Opera Rara’s bel canto catalogue.

Jonas Kaufmann : Mahler Das Lied von der Erde

Jonas Kaufmann Mahler Das Lied von der Erde is utterly unique but also works surprisingly well as a musical experience. This won't appeal to superficial listeners, but will reward those who take Mahler seriously enough to value the challenge of new perspectives.

The "Lost" Songs of Morfydd Owen

A new recording, made late last year, Morfydd Owen : Portrait of a Lost Icon, from Tŷ Cerdd, specialists in Welsh music, reveals Owen as one of the more distinctive voices in British music of her era : a grand claim but not without foundation. To this day, Owen's tally of prizes awarded by the Royal Academy of Music remains unrivalled.

Early Swedish opera - Stenhammer world premiere

The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.

Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 2

Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.

The Tallis Scholars: Josquin's Missa Di dadi

‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.

A Venetian Double: English Touring Opera

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s fifteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.

Walter Braunfels : Orchestral Songs Vol 1

New from Oehms Classics, Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 1. Luxury singers - Valentina Farcas, Klaus Florian Vogt and Michael Volle, with the Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.

Lalo: Complete Songs

Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.

New from Opera Rara : Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe

Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara - Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.

Félicien David: Herculanum

It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.

Samuel Barber: Choral Music

This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.

A Prize-Winning Rediscovery from 1840s Paris (and 1830s Egypt)

Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.

Félicien David: Songs for voice and piano

This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100 songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles” with herself!).

John Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their 40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Deutsche Grammophon 0289 477 8988 8 [CD]
08 Feb 2012

Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

Recorded on 14 June 1964 at the Großer Saal of the Musikverein, Vienna, as part of the Wiener Festwochen, this legendary performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde was released in 2011 on Deutsche Grammophon.

Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)

Fritz Wunderlich, tenor; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone. Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Josef Krips, conductor. [Int’l Release 12 April 2011]

Deutsche Grammophon 0289 477 8988 8 [CD]

$18.99  Click to buy

Wunderlich is not unknown with this piece, since the Mahler discography includes a masterful studio recording of Das Lied with Christa Ludwig, alto, and Ottol Klemperer, conductor (an EMI recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra). While that EMI release offers the customary version of Das Lied with tenor and also, the Krips recording presents the work in the other scoring Mahler sanctioned, the one for baritone and tenor. While convention tends to favor the tenor and alto pairing, the tenor and baritone version is also effective, especially when it involves such talented performers as Wunderlich and Fischer-Dieskau, who were particularly moving in this 1964 recording.

As the culmination of Das Lied, the final song, “Der Abschied,” requires attention to the details of line and orchestration in conveying the symphonic expression of orchestral song. In this recording Fischer-Dieskau offers a moving performance, which is sensitive to the poetic and musical line. Dynamic levels and timbre are impressive in this recording, which gives a sense of leave-taking, but not resignation. The final section of “Der Abschied” merits attention for the manner in which the baritone resolves the dramatic climax of the music line in the iterations of the work “ewig” (“forever”) with which the piece concludes. While Fischer-Dieskau’s later recordings of Das Lied with Murray Dicke (conducted by Paul Kletzki) and with James King (conducted by Leonard Bernstein) have been available for years, this performance by Krips preserves the Fischer-Dieskau at an earlier point in his career. The orchestral playing is laudable in an interpretation that suggests accompanied song, without the emphasis on symphonic elements which emerges in other performances.

In addition, the close miking in “Der Einsame im Herbst” gives a sense of the precision Fischer-Dieskau brought to the concert, with well-articulated consonants, extended vowels, where necessary, and elegant phrasing. While the recording contains some stage or audience sounds, they never detract from the overall impression of this moving performance. In “Von der Schönheit” Fischer-Dieskau evinces the delicacy the piece requires, especially when the scoring involves the lower timbre of a baritone. In this song, Krips offers nice contrast in the middle section, with the fast tempo never challenging Fischer-Dieskau’s ability to enunciate the text precisely, with the accompaniment valiantly matching the vocalizing.

In the tenor songs, Wunderlich is as impressive as he is on the studio recording. The opening song “Das Trinklied von Jammer der Erde” is a tour de force. The urgent tempo with which Krips starts the piece affords Wunderlich the chance to demonstrate his facility with the musical line and the exquisite diction in rendering the text. Based on a radio broadcast, the sound is clear, but sometimes dry and less textured than found in later, stereo recordings. It is nevertheless possible apprehend Krips’ command of the orchestra, and his persuasive interpretation of the score. In “Von der Jugend,” Wunderlich is also impressive, with his phrasing of the text fitting well into Mahler’s musical line. Here the timbre is evidence of Wunderlich’s command of this piece, as he meets the demands of the song consummately. The third of Wunderlich’s pieces, “Der Trunkene im Frühling” complements the other two performances, with the interpretation giving a sense of the song without some of the overstatement which some performers bring to the sense of inebriation implicit in the text.

This release makes a famous performance of Das Lied from 1964 available in a modern release. As part of the Wiener Festwochen, the recording is evidence of the presence of Mahler’s music around the time that the general public rediscovered Mahler’s music. The solid interpretation Krips brought to the score shows the conductor’s solid grasp of the score and his solid sense of Mahler’s style. Mahlerians should appreciate this release for the contribution it offers to the composer's discography.

Jim Zychowicz

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):