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Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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  • Performer: Sarah Connolly, Toby Spence
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (30 Sept. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Lpo
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,847 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Digital Booklet: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Digital Booklet: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
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Product Description

Product Description

LPO Principal Guest Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has a great affinity with the German Romantic repertoire. His previous LPO Label disc, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, received great critical acclaim and is one of the most popular discs on the label.

In Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), Mahler married together for the first time the lyricism of the song-cycle and the formal ambition of the symphony, describing it as probably the most personal composition I have created thus far'.

This live 2011 concert recording from Royal Festival Hall features two of Britain's finest soloists: tenor Toby Spence and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, who is particularly renowned for her Mahler interpretations.

Reviews of the concert:
Great singing, so in tune with the watercolour images and their deeper truths. So many shades, such fine detailing. Few have witnessed the renewal of spring with such heightened awareness. Glorious.' Edward Seckerson, The Independent

Toby Spence displayed ardour and heroism ... with Connolly a dignified and rapturous naturist, seeker and renewer; she's a great artist.' Colin Anderson, Classical Source


The music-making is remarkable ... The players, on top form, are participants rather than accompanists. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone, Dec'13

Nézet-Séguin's conducting is wonderfully detailed and sparkling, the tempos exactly right and with a certain insouciance in the wind playing that I found delightful. --Fanfare

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Das Lied von der Erde has benefited from an outstanding series of recordings ever since Bruno Walter's of the late 1950s, but none are more outstanding than this. In all respects, this is a magnificent achievement.

The range of expression created by all inspire the fire, drunkenness and bravura of life itself, the twilight and shadows of night as well as our dreams and sorrows, all imbued with those untouchable mists that are completely at one with the oriental mystery.

Few tenors have matched the youthful ardour achieved by Toby Spence. This is singing of fulsome passion that generates spine tingling excitement. Somehow this voice captures the youth and beauty we associate with the much-missed Fritz Wunderlich, combining it with a new energy and bravura that engages us right from the start.

Then there is Sarah Connolly, whose exquisiteness of voice and innate musicianship transcends all we have previously known. Every word, each and every phrase, each line is etched within the context of the whole. This is a performance not only entirely at one with Mahler's intense vision, but it allows us to enter the realm of each song with a magic that seems so spontaneous yet is so totally informed by a seeming wisdom of age.

The colours achieved by the London Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional, each colour combined with faultless balance and nuance to achieve a bejeweled quality. This is both a grand orchestra capable of creating a terrifying roar yet a chamber group in which each player responds to his or her counterpart with innate understanding. Yannick Nezet-Seguin establishes himself as a conductor of rare insight.
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There is every reason to celebrate the LPO as perhaps the best orchestra in London these days; I hear them regularly in the renovated Royal Festival Hall and can attest to their form under Leader Pieter Schoeman; certainly to my ears they are getting better and better. The same may be said of their conductor here, for whom I have not always had unqualified praise but, following his stupendous concert-performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony recently, I have increasing admiration.

It is also good to hear the elegant British tenor Toby Spence a year before he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer from which he has now thankfully staged a recovery. He has an intrinsically beautiful voice and even if he is pushed to his limits in this music, it is a pleasure to hear him singing so well rather than having to endure another wobbly Heledentenor barking his way in ungainly fashion hrough "Das Trinklied". He is more in the Wunderlich mode than the style of James King or Kaufmann; a lighter, more youthful sound but with just enough heft to cope and no throatiness. He is matched by the equally lovely full and rich voice of Sarah Connolly; she is of course more of a soprano than the usual mezzo and she does not perhaps probe the meaning of the texts as deeply as some predecessors but it is nonetheless a delight to hear such steady, pure-toned singing. She is rapturous in the "Der Abschied".

The live sound is excellent: very few coughs and the perfect balance between orchestra and voice. I find Nézet-Séguin's tempi and phrasing ideal. Some find this performance under-stated; I must say that I really enjoy its fresh, unpretentious directness.
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Format: Audio CD
Recordings of Das Lied von der Erde are like buses... indeed, for all the many accounts of the Symphonies appearing on labels around the world, recordings of Mahler's late symphony-cum-song cycle crop up less frequently. Now, after Marc Albrecht's sterling effort with Alice Coote, Burkhard Fritz and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra earlier this year comes this lovely if more muted account from the LPO, Sarah Connolly and Toby Spence, under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Spence is a confident Anglo-Saxon tenor soloist. He offers an assured middle ground between the operatic and Lieder-like tones of his various predecessors, though the first song lacks the air of true desperation suggested by the text. He bounces suitably coyly through 'Von der Jugend' and strides out afresh in 'Der Trunkene im Frühling' though he could offer a more emasculated view of masculinity.

Sarah Connolly is typically heartrending. What 'Der Einsame im Herbst' lacks in abject eeriness it more than makes up for in luxurious appeal. Yet Connolly's own contribution to the work's adumbrated Scherzo, 'Von der Schönheit', is perhaps too rich. It is impossible not to be moved by 'Der Abschied'. Here Nézet-Séguin takes more time, allowing the woodwind solos to something more improvisatory, eerily wrapping themselves like bindweed around Connolly's silver-throated though anguished pleas.

And yet, while the LPO plays well throughout, the performance never reaches absolute fever pitch. There is a superb sense of communication between the various instruments in the Finale, yet the grave return to C minor is played down to the point of anticlimax. Some may enjoy hearing this work as if through a gauze, but ultimately I prefer Marc Albrecht's more headstrong account. Its ability to project a truly anguished mood in the opening songs, as well as basking in the more picturesque passages, makes the final farewell all the more desolate.
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