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Das Lied Von Der Erde

Kubelik; Kmentt; Baker; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks , Mahler Gustav Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 18.20 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well-rounded performance Aug. 28 2003
By Dirge
Format:Audio CD
This well-balanced, finely integrated performance manages to be scrupulous and refined yet flowing and dramatic -- though the drama here is less overt than in some performances, achieved as much through subtle but telling gestures made in an atmosphere of unflagging concentration and tension as through theatricality and dynamic intensity. Kubelik is keenly attuned to the intricately woven nature of the work, and his flexible but faithful conducting is well suited to the task. His ability to logically relate and gracefully transition between even the most disparate of elements allows him to maintain tension and momentum throughout and to impart a fluid-like flow to the music. This performance won't sweep you away, but it moves along with great sureness of purpose and contributes in no small way to the performance's genuinely satisfying sense of continuity and integrity.
The admirably refined and responsive playing of the Bavarian RSO also contributes to this sense, allowing Kubelik to balance musical lines as he pleases without having to analytically highlight delicate lines so that they can be heard above the din of a scrappy orchestra. Their near-faultless playing and chamber-like coordination is all the more remarkable for being accomplished in a live setting and without the slightest hint of cautious holding-back so as not to make a mistake. Indeed, there's an extra measure of involvement and a palpable sense of occasion throughout this performance, with everyone sounding completely sold on Kubelik's interpretation and wholeheartedly determined to put it across to the audience.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable recording Oct. 4 2005
By L. Johan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you only want one recording of Mahler's wonderful Das Lied von der Erde, this recording will last for a lifetime. I want to emphasize two points for this view.

First, on this record, Rafael Kubelik is conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Kubelik made this orchestra to become one of the finest Mahler orchestras in the sixties, thus contributing to the Mahler-boom. Kubelik's Mahler was once discarded as lightweight, especially beside Bernstein. Today the opinion is rather that Kubelik provided one of the best representations of the truly Bohemian Mahler while Bernstein's Mahler is too much of Bernstein and less of Mahler. Anyway, it is a marvellous orchestra playing on this disc under a classic Mahler conductor, caught live in their own Herkulessaal in Munich with its excellent acoustics. Sonic quality is also excellent. And the audience is spellbound, completely silent.

Second, the soloists are the very best for this work. The Austrian tenor Waldemar Kmentt is perhaps not the most famous tenor, but he was in his prime during the sixties and early seventies. And his contribution on this record must be compared with Wunderlich and Patzak, as the finest interpreters of tenor part of this work. Few can match the desperate tone he produces in "Das Trinklied". And he is as delicate and charming as Wunderlich is in "Der Trunkene im Fruhling" and "Von Der Jugend". Janet Baker, on the other hand, needs no defence in this context. Together with Christa Ludwig, she is the best voice for Das Lied von der Erde. We have her voice in recordings of this work with Haitink, Kempe, and Leppard, but the evening of the present recording was indeed a special occasion. Her performance is just outstanding, especially of the final movement.

To sum up: A remarkable recording, spaciously recorded, and a great event. Strongly and warmly recommended.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST Lied von der Erde ever. Period. Nov. 4 2008
By C. Escamilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There is no denying that there are some fantastic recordings of this work available. There is also no denying that some less than stellar performances feature many great and memorable moments. But there can be no question that this recording of Das Lied von der Erde is absolutely the very best.

Kubelik, who never recorded the work in the studio, is alive to details and nuances that even Bruno Walter, perhaps the score's greatest conductor, misses. Listen, for example in Der Abschied around the three minute mark as the mezzo sings "O sieh...", to the way Kubelik brings the clarinets to the foreground, matching the mezzo line with a beautiful harmonization that too many conductors miss. Or try Kubelik's having the mandolin tremolo at the end of the same movement in order to make its part resonate more. He really achieves some great and magical moments in this tricky and complex score.

Waldemar Kmentt holds his own pretty well. He's certainly not a match for Wunderlich or Peter Schrier who, in my opinion, gives the greatest performance of the tenor songs, but Kmentt is still very good. He copes admirably well with the first song and its incredibly treacherous range. He also lightens his voice beautifully for the third song. But why in the fifth song, "The Drunkard in Spring", does he not lighten his voice again for the middle, dream section?! This is a glaring error, and it's quite possibly the only major problem with this performance.

The reason it is so crucial for Kmentt to lighten his voice comes in his partner: Janet Baker. Never, including her own other performances, has a mezzo sung the three songs in this work as well as Janet Baker did on this occasion. The examples of quite possibly the finest vocal artistry ever committed to disc are too numerous to mention, but suffice it to say that this performance should serve as a lesson to all singers as to how to interpret a piece of music. She is simply the best, and her performance will leave you speechless.

This recording is simply not to be missed, and it deserves a place of honor on every classical music fan's shelf. It will keep you coming back for a lifetime. Very highly recommended!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ditto - a great "DLvdE" Jan. 16 2007
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Yep, this is a recording that pretty much has everything going for it. I don't love Kmentt nearly as much as Fritz Wunderlich (Klemperer), but he's far better than most, in dealing with Mahler's grueling tenor writing - juxtaposed against some mighty Wagnerian orchestral writing in the first song. Janet Baker is truly at the top of her game here. Kubelik doesn't put a foot wrong anyplace either. The sonics are very good, but certainly not up to the latest digital standards. Still, when everything else is so right, slightly dated sonics is just isn't a problem. All aspects considered, this recording of "DLvdE" is right up there with the best of them.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the finest "Das Lied" on record Nov. 14 2010
By Paul Bubny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Rafael Kubelik never recorded "Das Lied von der Erde" commercially, yet we have this 1970 concert performance from the archives of Bavarian Radio, whose orchestra Kubelik led at the time. No allowances whatsoever need to be made for this being a one-off live recording. Sonically, it's at least a match for the studio set of the symphonies (now my reference "box" in this repertoire) that Kubelik was making for DG at the time, and technically the orchestral playing is pretty immaculate.

Where this really comes together, though, is in the self-effacing and wonderfully astute conducting and in the expressive performances of Dame Janet Baker and Waldemar Kmentt. Kmnett is perhaps not as golden-toned as Fritz Wunderlich in the classic Otto Klemperer set, but he pays more attention to the words and their meaning, and differentiates more clearly among the three tenor songs. Dame Janet would go on to record this in the studio with Bernard Haitink (and she may be also be heard in a recording conducted by Raymond Leppard) and for some that 1975 set is the definitive "Das Lied." Here she is fresher of voice and just a shade lighter of tone, and if the world-weariness she conveyed so affectingly in the Haitink is not quite as evident here, that may be due more to an interpretive choice than to any inability at that stage in her career. And it fits in with a conception of the song-cycle (or symphony for tenor and alto voices and orchestra) as being about the beauty and wonder of living as well as about the finite, transient nature of human existence. A performance of light and shade, in other words--and on all counts difficult to beat despite the many outstanding recordings of this work.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets July 1 2010
By L. Topper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have many, many recordings of Das Lied von der Erde. This recording has to be my favorite. Janet Baker has never been better. Kmentt is quite good. The first song is exceptionally cruel to tenors. Wunderlich is wonderful with this work. Patzak is also quite good. Kmentt does a fine job. The orchestra is magnifiscent. Kubelik cannot be faulted. The sound is very, very good. If you can only own one, this is the best overall version of this work which is one of my favorite compositions.

There are many other great recordings. The Klemperer recording is great, but the sonics do not compare. The Klemperer recording deserves its reputation, but the Kubelik is simply even better. Some moments are really memorable with Klemperer. Klemperer has a tendency to almost dissect the composition so you can hear things that you might have never heard before. I also love the Decca recording with Ferrier, but sometimes I feel that her singing is a bit overrated. She may be a sentimental favorite to some and she seems to be a true contralto which is not that common. The back story on the Ferrier recording is so dramatic. She is dieing of cancer while she is recording Mahler's farewell to life and to the earth. Her singing is heartfelt. The sound on the Ferrier recording can get grating as it seems to become sharp and distorted when the sound becomes overloaded.

While so many recordings of Das Lied von der Erde are fine and enjoyable, they do not seem to combine all of these very fine factors. I like the Giulini, but Fassbender's voice is not as ingratiating and Arraiza is over-parted. Karajan's recordings seems kind of artificial in sound and is too smooth. The performances by Jessye Norman on the Davis recording is astonishingly beautiful--especially Der Abschied. I know that some people feel that her interpretation seems boring, but to me it cannot be more beautiful. Norman's voice is unique and immediately recognizable. To me, at her prime, she was a force of nature. I am glad to have the Colin Davis recording despite how disappointing Vicker's performance is at this stage in his life.

Anyway, the price is right. The performance is as good as I have ever heard!! Do yourself a favor. Get this recording while it lasts. I have sent this disc to a number of people as a gift. Everyone that I have sent it to has been happy with it.
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