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Mahler: Das klagende Lied; Rückert-Lieder; Kindertotenlieder; Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen etc. CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 April 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00008MLU0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

FASSBAENDER BRIGITTE

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By Andrew C. Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first CD has on it Mahler's Klagende Lied. This already shows the great German, Austrian and Jewish traditions in which Mahler operated within the context of tragic life. It is a dramatic cantata which already points to what mahler will do with the Symphony, Songs and Song Cyles. He has already got a tremendous grasp of the orchestra, the chorus and the human voice. On this great performance by the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Riccardo Chailly directs a very fine cast of singers and the Stadtischer Musikverein Dusseldorf. The influences of Beethoven, Wagner and Weber, Schubert and Bruckner may be felt and the tragic horror of the 'singing bone.' is experienced by a man who lost so many siblings in childhood and in particular a brother Ernst. On the second CD Brigitte Fassbaender gives a tender, sensitive account of the song cycle Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen from the 1880s. There are three of the Wunderhorn settings. There are five settings of poems by Ruckert. Chailly and Fassbaender show great understanding in placing the longest song last with its intimations of abandonment of the world. Personally, I am deeply moved by 'Um Mitternacht'. The deep descending scales are wonderfully placed, the orchestration is amazing, the singing plumbs the depths of the midnight, and the peels of brass are heart-rending. Finally there is a moving account of Mahler's Songs on the Deaths of Children. This double CD is altogether excellent.
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This set contains a Mahler selection not found elsewhere, to the best of my knowledge at the date of writing. There are so many good versions of the symphonies and the Song of the Earth that I welcome a pair of discs that excludes them and provides us with what we hear less often, notably Das Klagende Lied. This is an early production, intended originally for a prize competition, and not typical of the kinds of text Mahler favoured later. It is, au fond, a Grimms fairy tale, but Mahler makes a bit of a meal of it, taking more than an hour in 3 sections. However it is not so untypical as to be cheerful or upbeat, and the meal he makes is one that I enjoy thoroughly. As for the rest, Mahler was not born to cheer us up. I for one am delighted again with the choices here because while Mahler's world may be a sad one it is deeply poetical, and the poetry is caught sensitively and powerfully in these performances.

The orchestra here is apparently none other than the dear old Gewandhaus, and if the standard they have attained is largely to Chailly's credit, then it is credit indeed. The orchestral tone is thrilling in the tutti sections, and the various solo sequences, characteristic of Mahler's spare and sweet-and-sour scoring, are as accomplished as I would wish. Speeds seem to me to be well judged throughout, but what matters with Mahler is to catch his highly individual tone of voice. This is not sorrowful quite all of the time, only most of the time, but even within its special emotional constraints there is a surprising variety of expression, or at least the conductor has to make us think there is, and Chailly does particularly well with this.
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First these low priced CDs are very good value. Here we have a celebrated mezzo singing most of Mahler's song cycles and a complete cantata. At first I was a little doubtful over the inclusion of the lesser known cantata 'Das Klagende Lied', an early Mahler piece, but surprisingly I found I quite liked it's novel themes. Although only three of the 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' songs have been included, I was delighted that one of them was the deeply moving 'Urlicht' from Mahler's second symphony.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Klagende Lied 21 Oct. 2004
By L. Johan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This twofer combines two earlier, separate sets. It deserves five stars for the one of the discs. This is also the reason for grabbing it as soon as possible (if you do not have it already): Chailly's excellent rendition of Mahler's youth cantata, Das Klagende Lied. A bunch of fine singers contribute to this great performance: Susan Dunn (soprano); Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo-soprano); Markus Baur (boy soprano); Werner Hollweg (tenor); Andreas Schmidt (bass). The orchestra is Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
and Städtischer Musikverein Düsseldorf provides the choir. In all respects, this is the first choice among Klagende Lieds. Chailly's interpretation is sensitive to the drama of Mahler's youth score, and the orchestra and vocalists are all in top form. Moreover, the recording is very good, spacious and dynamic.

The second disc contains the Mahler song cycles for solo voice and orchestra. Brigitte Fassbaender sings well. But her interpretation is no match for Janet Baker's outstanding performance, which we have in the classic Barbirolli set (EMI). A fine (but not great) performance, though, and one could do a lot worse.

To sum up: Strongly recommended for Das Klagande Lied.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection of Mahler's compositions that are other than his numbered symphonies. 1 Sept. 2015
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This product takes the form of two compact discs on the DECCA label. The conductor is Riccardo Chailly and the orchestra is Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. The singer is Brigitte Fassbaender.

The compositions on the disc are all by Gustav Mahler, and they consist of Das Klagende Lied, Kindertotenlieder, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen (all four songs of Songs of a Wayfarer are here), and Ruckert Leider (all five songs are here). Only three of the thirteen of the songs of Des Knaben Wunderhorn are on this compilation.

This review provides a side-by-side comparison of Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the same recording under the baton of Simon Rattle. The Rattle recording is slightly better, for reasons disclosed below. This review also provides a side-by-side comparison of one of the songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn (the song about the fish) with the recording by Thomas Qusthoff and the Beliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Claudio Abbado. The Abbado recording is slightly better, for the reasons listed below.

SECOND-BY-SECOND ACCOUNT OF WALDMARCHEN. This provides a description of the opening moments of DAS KLAGENDE LIED, one of my very favorite pieces from the classical repertoire. WALDMARCHEN begins with muffled kettle drums. At the 6 second point, the French horns provide a short riff. Then, at 18 seconds, the flutes join in. The French horns resume at 23 seconds, and at 24 seconds, the reeds and strings join the fray. At 33 seconds, the French horns join in again, and here they play a real tune, not just a riff. At 50 seconds, the melodies provided by the entire orchestra descend to a lower pitch, and the previously presented motifs are reiterated but at the lower pitch. At one minute and 37 seconds comes a momentary crescendo. It is a big crescendo, but there is not any crash of cymbals. These timings are for the Rattle recording. This and other parts of DAS KLAGENDE LIED are essentially the same for the Chailly recording and for the Rattle recording, with the nit-picky exceptions that I list below. The Chailly recording of Waldmarchen begins with a background noise hum that lasts for a second, but the Rattle recording starts with music, not with any hum.

COMPARING WALDMARCHEN RECORDINGS UNDER THE BATON OF CHAILLY AND RATTLE. The Chailly timing is 28 minutes and 8 seconds, while the Rattle timing is 28 minutes and 31 seconds. In the Chailly recording, the tenor (Werner Hollweg) makes his entrance at 5 min, 36 sec, singing one of the most beautiful melodies in the classical repertoire. Mr. Hollweg's voice is slightly tinny. In the Rattle recording, the tenor (Robert Tear) makes his entrance at 5 min, 23 seconds. Robert Tear's voice is somewhat creamy sounding, somewhat like that of Thomas Quasthoff. Thus, I have a very slight preference for the Rattle recording. For reasons unknown to me, the Chailly recording has a tenor (Werner Hollweg) and a bass (Andreas Schmidt), while in contrast, the Rattle recording has a tenor and a baritone. The tenor is Robert Tear and the baritone is Sean Rea.

The next movement in Das Klagende Lied is DER SPEILMANN. There is no discernable difference to my ears, in the opening minutes of the Chailly and Rattle recordings.

HOCHZEITSSTUCK. The Chailly recording clocks at 18:32, while the Rattle recording is 18:57. The opening minute is distinguished by solo flourishes from the kettle drums, a strong bass line provided by tubas and stringed basses, and blaring brass. This third movement of Das Klagende Lied is distinguished by the presence of an off-stage band, which is much quieter than the on-stage orchestra. The off-stage band can be heard, for example, in the interval of 2:16 to 3:12. When the off-stage band is playing, the only other source of music is vocal soloists, at least for this interval of time. This movement also features a chorus

PREFERENCES. For the following reasons, I have a slight preference for the Rattle recording of Das Klagende Lied. The Rattle recording was recorded at a higher volume, and the brass and cymbals are more crisp and dramatic. In contrast, the Chailly recording could be characterized as very slightly muddy. Also I have a slight preference for Robert Tear's voice, over the tinny voice of Hollweg.

The following compares DAS KNABEN WUNDERHORN from the Chailly recording with that by Thomas Quasthoff (baritone) and Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzosoprano), as conducted by Abbado on the Deutche Grammophon label. On the Chailly recording, there are only three songs, as I mentioned above, and these are sung by Brigitte Fassbaender who uses a pronounced vibrato. In the Abbado recording, some of the songs are sung by the male while others by the female. My favorite of all of the songs from DAS KNABEN WUNDERHORN is the song about the fish, and I like this one the best because it is the same melody as that found in the waltz movement in Mahler's Symphony No.2. Anyway, this compares the fish song (DES ANTONIUS VON PADUA FISHPREDIGHT from the Chailly and Abbado recordings. Notable features of the Abbado recording are the fluttery flute motifs occurring at 20-30 seconds and 60-65 seconds, and the five second donkey-like braying from clarinets that occurs at 60 seconds and again at 105 seconds. The piece concludes with a low volume mysterious sounding Chinese gong. I prefer the Abbado recording over the Chailly recording for many reasons. First of all, the Chailly recording of the fish song has too much echo. Also, in the Chailly recording the fluttery flute motifs are obscured, because Brigitte Fassbaender sings at the same pitch as the flutes, and because Brigitte Fassbaender makes her voice flitter and flutter with her vibrato. The clarinet donkey sound is not much noticeable in the Chailly recording. Also, the very end of the piece in the Chailly recording features a prominent low note from a bassoon, and to my ears, the mysterious sounding Chinese gong does not occur at the end of the Chailly recording. To reiterate these points, what I like and prefer about the Abbado recording is the crisper sound, and the more easily discernable fluttery flutes, donkey braying, and mysterious Chinese gong.

CONCLUSION. The Chailly recording provides a great selection of Mahler's pieces that are not numbered symphonies. A careful side-by-side comparision of any of the pieces on the Chailly recording with other recordings will enable any listener to decide on a favored recording. I did my own side-by-side comparisons, and discovered that I had a slight preference for recordings under the baton of Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado. Das Klagende Lied is my very favorite of Mahler's compositions, and it has been my favorite since the year 1972. It was composed when Mahler was only twenty years old.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for Fassbaender's singing, and the Klagende Lied remains a classic 24 Oct. 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 1989 account of Das Klagende Lied became an instant classic, especially among British critics, the moment it appeared. Decca's sonics are excellent, and Chailly marshals his forces expertly. The Berlin Radio Sym. Orch., an ensemble he greatly improved during his tenure there, plays vividly, and both chorus and soloists are outstanding. I'm not sure that Chailly finds the most impact in the first movement, the weakest of the three (Mahler excised it from the performing edition in later years), and the gruesomeness of the second and third movements could be more grotesque. Chailly doesn't outdo Boulez's gripping acocunt on Sony for sheer brilliance. Even so, this deluxe version remains among the best overall.

I was more drawn to Fassbaender's traversal of Mahler's three song cycles, along with a trio of songs selected from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. She comes into direct competition with two other great mezzos, Janet Baker and Christa Ludwig, both on EMI. They are more womanly and yielding in their approach, and more varied in their emotional range. (Fassbaender is unable to be humorous or ethereal, two moods that Mahler frequently calls upon in his songs.)

But Fassbaender adds an anxious edginess, almost like a Berlin cabaret singer, that brings Mahler into the garish expressionist world of Schoenberg and Berg. Her plaintive tone suggests tragedy and heartbreak, even when she's supposed to be singing rapturously. The voice was in excellent shape in 1988-89, and although this Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen isn't as biting and anguished as Fassbaender's earlier account with Sinopoli on DG, it's searing enough to burn your ears. Chailly's accompaniment is decidedly less cutting; it exhibits his customary polish and refinement. In my judgment soloist and conductor mesh best in Kindertotenlieder, with the Fahrenden Gesellen cycle as runner-up.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE US TO YOUR LIEDER 5 Oct. 2011
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This set contains a Mahler selection not found elsewhere, to the best of my knowledge at the date of writing. There are so many good versions of the symphonies and the Song of the Earth that I welcome a pair of discs that excludes them and provides us with what we hear less often, notably Das Klagende Lied. This is an early production, intended originally for a prize competition, and not typical of the kinds of text Mahler favoured later. It is, au fond, a Grimms fairy tale, but Mahler makes a bit of a meal of it, taking more than an hour in 3 sections. However it is not so untypical as to be cheerful or upbeat, and the meal he makes is one that I enjoy thoroughly. As for the rest, Mahler was not born to cheer us up. I for one am delighted again with the choices here because while Mahler's world may be a sad one it is deeply poetical, and the poetry is caught sensitively and powerfully in these performances.

The orchestra here is apparently none other than the dear old Gewandhaus, and if the standard they have attained is largely to Chailly's credit, then it is credit indeed. The orchestral tone is thrilling in the tutti sections, and the various solo sequences, characteristic of Mahler's spare and sweet-and-sour scoring, are as accomplished as I would wish. Speeds seem to me to be well judged throughout, but what matters with Mahler is to catch his highly individual tone of voice. This is not sorrowful quite all of the time, only most of the time, but even within its special emotional constraints there is a surprising variety of expression, or at least the conductor has to make us think there is, and Chailly does particularly well with this. It is more of an achievement with a set of selections, after all, than it would be in the context of a symphony, where the composer himself sees to that aspect of the matter. It may be, of course, that different listeners hear certain passages differently from others, and I was brought up sharply by what the liner-note writer says concerning the very last notes of the entire set, the close of the Kindertotenlieder. To Mr Kenneth Chalmers this is `a conclusion that creates a remarkable sense of peace.' Not for me it doesn't, for me it is the saddest thing of all. Think of Tennyson's lines in In Memoriam `And in my heart if calm at all,/ If any calm, a calm despair.' This is only the peace of resigned hopelessness in the face of unbearable bereavement.

The chorus perform well, and the soloists very well indeed. Das Klagende Lied is not a very economical score, I had to reflect after being bombarded with dire financial news afflicting the entire world, (an aspect of the sad fate of humanity that Mahler did not live to take on board.) It calls for 5 soloists as well as the chorus, they are well balanced, and in particular the tenor Werner Hollweg makes a good strong impression with his first entry after 5 or 6 minutes of orchestral lead-in. Brigitte Fassbaender is the only soloist in the remaining numbers, and she lacks for nothing in the matter of tone, security of technique or depth of expression. Mahler more even than most composers probably arouses strong disagreements among commentators regarding the finer points of interpretation, and I should probably advise any readers of this notice to browse around a variety of reviews. However if I am right in thinking that this particular selection of Mahler works is unique on disc, then maybe we can take a shortcut and be content with this one after all. There is very little indeed to criticise in it.

The recordings are DDD throughout, if I am reading the note correctly, and date from the early 1990's. The sound is not of record-breaking vividness but it is very good and satisfies me at least. There is a liner-note, rather meandering but still quite informative and useful. To Decca's enormous credit all texts are provided with English translations, but there is one minor oddity. All the separate texts on the second disc are accompanied by Roman numerals, referring presumably to some official edition. These Roman numerals are replicated on the back of the leaflet until we get to the Wayfarer songs where they are suppressed, quite obviously because space has run out. In the first place it should be explained what they are, in the second place if some are going to be printed twice all of them should be. The best plan would be to leave them out, as they serve no discoverable purpose. In all respects that matter however, price included, this is an excellent and highly recommendable set.
5.0 out of 5 stars Saint Anthony Preaches 10 Mar. 2015
By David Webb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brigitte Fassbaender's voice was created to sing these songs by Mahler. Her singing is beautiful and rich. She also has ample vocal power when she needs it. I bought this album to hear Das Klagende Lied but it also contains a wealth of Mahler's other songs. I am not a big fan of German lieder but I really love the songs of Mahler and Richard Strauss. The orchestral accompaniment was crisp and never overshadowed the soloist. This is the first recording by Riccardo Chailly that I have heard. His interpretation of Mahler's score is superb. If you are looking for a recording of Mahler's lieder, this is the album to buy. It was a thrill to hear these performances! Only recently did I discover that composers like Mahler and Beethoven had a sense of humor. Knowing this has greatly increased my appreciation of their works.
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