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Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Oct. 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00001IVQU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,071 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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BERNSTEIN LEONARD

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Format: Audio CD
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I really feel the need to counter the comments made by the other reviewer of this product.

I have 12 different versions of Das Lied von der Erde at home (including the famous Bruno Walter recording with Kathleen Ferrier mentioned in the other review) and this recording by Leonard Bernstein is one of my absolute favourites.

To put this recording in context, it was one of Leonard Bernstein's first forays into European music making having been active almost exclusively in the United States. This is one of the persuasively conducted recordings I have ever heard of this piece. The Vienna Orchestra plays gorgeously. I think that Mahler treats the orchestra as a giant chamber ensemble and there are so many lovely individual touches in the orchestral delivery. I think also that Leonard Bernstein's personality as a conductor is so vividly projected. Every phrase is alive with meaning.

The two singers are also pretty amazing. Although it comes as a shock when you first hear the even numbered songs sung by a baritone rather than contralto voice, the ear soon adjusts. Dietrich Fischer Dieskau brings stunning lieder-like word pointing and extremely clear vocal line to his part. It is a very hard part for a baritone to sing but I was not made aware of any difficulties in his delivery.

James King has not always been a favourite of mine. He can sound stiff but you cannot but admire the solidity of his slighly baritonal tenor sound. The 3 tenor songs in the work seem to require 3 different voices, from heldentenor in the first song to light lyric tenor in the second. It is rare that a singer can do justice to both songs. James King is just right in the first song.
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Format: Audio CD
Mahler's "Das Lied von Der Erde" is often cited as his greatest work. Completed not long before his death, it is certainly one of his most perfect works. A song of farewell to life, it also celebrates it. The last words "the beautiful earth blossoms for ever and ever" are devastating. Never more so in the music of Mahler who in his last works (including the 9th and 10th symphonies) takes listeners into and beyond destruction.

It was so poignant in the hands of Katheleen Ferrier, whose performance with Bruno Walter, Mahler's protige in (Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde) ranks as one of the greatest of all Mahler recordings. There is extra pathos in the fact that Ferrier was soon to die of cancer.

Mahler's greatest interpreters have often been prepared to take the music into destruction. Conductors to my mind who do this are often the most successful. I think of Klaus Tennstdet, Otto Klemperer and above all Bernstein in this. And for many, including me, Lennie is the greatest Mahler conductor. No one else got closer to Mahler's spirit, not least because of his willingness to take sometimes insane risks.

"Das Lied" is usually performed with a tenor and a mezzo. There have many been great recordings of it performed this way. My favorites include the above mentioned one with Ferrier, Patzak and Walter. Also Klemperer (hear Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde - Ludwig, Wunderlich, Klemperer) with the divine Christa Ludwig. They are benchmark recordings.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am catching up with some recordings of this favourite work I missed first time around. Firstly I have to say this is the best recorded, surpassing even those 21st century recordings I have heard, for example from Pentatone. It is a totally believable acoustic with the voices perfectly balanced against the orchestra. The Vienna Phil are in a class of their own. They, Bernstein and the singers seem to be in complete accord as to what they are trying to achieve which, although a little more 'heart on sleeve' than I likel, simply sweeps away any criticism. I find James King in much sweeter voice here than for Haitink and DFD is also on top form. I you have doubts about a baritone in this piece this recording may convert you.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Outstanding version of the well loved work. Even though it is the version by all male soloists it is a gripping account which makes you soon forget that there is another version more traditionally used with a mix of male and female soloists. Special mention should be made of Bernstein as conductor and how he brings this work to life. Although I know the work well and have done for years, Bernstein made me feel I was hearing for the 1st time it was so fresh and exciting. Don't forget also the contribution of the Vienna Philharmonic - they play like angels!

A particular reference should be made about the quality of the recording. This CD, although recorded 50 years ago in 1966, sounds like it was recorded digitally only yesterday. A very spacious, warm and detailed recording which is well served in the latest transfer by Decca on to CDs.

Don't hesitate - this is truly a classic recording.
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