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Mahler: Lieder

Thomas Quasthoff , Violeta Urmana , Anne Sofie von Otter , Gustav Mahler , Pierre Boulez , et al. Audio CD

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1. Wenn Mein Schatz Hochzeit Macht
2. Ging Heut Morgen Ubers Feld
3. Ich Hab Ein Gluhend Messer
4. Die Zwei Blauen Augen
5. Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder
6. Ich Atmet Einen Linden Duft
7. Liebst Du Um Schonheit
8. Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen
9. Um Mitternacht
10. Nun Will Die Sonn So Hell Aufgehn
11. Nun Seh Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flammen
12. Wenn Dein Mutterlein
13. Oft Denk Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen
14. In Diesem Wetter, In Diesem Braus

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapturous,diaphanous Mahler Lieder Feb. 1 2005
By THE BLUEMAHLER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In his recordings of various artists' song cycles,Boulez,it seems,often has been inspired to producing some of his most profound performances.
His classic recordings of the little performed songs of Ravel, Schoenberg, and Berg still remain the yardstick by which all others are measured.
Now, comes his arrival of three Mahler lieder and the results are something to celebrate.
Indeed, this may prove to be his best Mahler yet.
In the Ruckert Lieder, Boulez coaxes both the Viennal Players and Violeta Urmana into producing sensuous sounds and colors which could come straight out the most transparent Klimt paintings.
It's my personal favorite of the three, but that opinion is already biased, as I have a definite soft spot for this piece.
Thomas Quasthoff is appropriately noble in the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Anne-Sofie von Otter has arguably never been more profund than in the Kindentotenlieder found here.
Boulez proves here that he's far more than 'just' a musical intellect, he also has acute rythmic instinct.
Each singer is perfectly cast, the sound is superb and Boulez's conducting is among his most crystal clear and lucid to date.
Like his other songcycles, this should prove to be a genuine 'classic'.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three of Mahler's Song Cycles, Three Artists, One Conductor June 27 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Pierre Boulez, now in his eighties, has become not only a master of orchestral score clarity: Boulez has also become a poet of the Romantic repertoire. The three beloved song cycles of Gustav Mahler here performed are among Mahler's most tender statements and Boulez allows all of the beauty and anguish to flow unfettered under his leadership.

The brilliant Thomas Quasthoff offers one of the most exquisitely sung 'Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen' ever recorded. His voice is lush and rich and seamless and he maintains his high level of musicality while becoming utterly absorbed in the poetry of the lyrics. The result is ravishingly beautiful.

Violeta Urmana follows him singing the 'Ruckert Lieder' with somewhat of a light voice until she reaches the 'Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen' when she settles into not only a lovely vocal bloom but a sense of emotional commitment. She continues this mood through the final 'Um Mitternacht'.

And then the stage belongs to Anne Sofie von Otter for 'Kindertotenlieder'. With Boulez she creates magic out of these mournful songs. This is one of the best performances we're likely to hear for a while.

In the end it is to Boulez' credit that he selected the soloists and placed the order of songs and of course conducts the entire ensemble (the Vienna Philharmonic is the orchestra) with expressive brio. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, June 05
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A matter of completion Oct. 6 2005
By J. C. Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have a personal reason for liking this CD. Anne-Sofie von Otter, when she did her previous CD of Mahler Lieder with John Eliot Gardiner in 1996, omitted the Kindertotenlieder (I assume she had children at the time who have subsequently grown up). Now, besides Quasthoff singing the Songs of a Wayfarer and Violeta Urmana singing the Ruckert-lieder (both beautifully)we have finally got Anne-Sofie singing the Kindertotenlieder and recordings of Anne-Sofie singing the three major Mahlerian Lieder Cycles. All is crisply conducted by Boulez and a special joy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overall success, even though the three singers are far from equal Oct. 8 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The universal praise that this CD has received speaks for itself. Quasthoff and von Otter enjoyed a joint tirumph in their earlier Mahler CD of 'Des Knaben Wudnderhorn," and although their voices are in their late prime, the two singers are equally masterful here. (One should note that Quasthoff's earlier version of the Wayfarer Songs, under Gary Bertini, has been rereleased. It wasn't much noticed on the Capriccio label in 1993, and the conducting is prosaic, but Quasthoff was in phenomenal voice.)

I felt some initial doubt whether Boulez had the tragic intensity that 'Kindertotenlieder' needs -- could he match Barbirolli and Bruno Walter in their classic acocunts with Janet Baker and Kathleen Ferrier? -- but he finds more detail in the score than either, and the Vienna Phil. is incomparable in this music. Boulez and von Otter express a quieter grief than usual, it must be admitted. Their emotion is so genuine and artistically conveyed that comparisons don't matter, though. If only von Otter had been caught ten years earlier when she had the vocal weight and control to sing the extremely difficult last song, 'In diesem Wetter.' Even with close miking she barely has enough voice now.

The Lithuanian mezzo cum dramatic soprano Violetta Urmana is the odd one out, so far as Mahler tradition goes. She doesn't communicate the poetry except in a generalized way, but her vocalizing is alluring. Memories of Baker, Ferrier, Fischer-Dieskau, Ludwig, and Hunt Lieberson aren't effaced by any means. Her biggest challenge is "Ich bin die Welt abhanden gekommen," arguably Mahler's greatest song. Boulez takes a moderate tempo, which helps, and Urmana reaches a bit deeper for emotion, so the result is quite beautiful. Her powerful voice comes in handy for the thrilling climax of 'Um Mitternacht,' the high point of her Ruckert Lieder.

In the end, Quasthoff comes away with highest honors, but von Otter is his equal expressively, and Urmana shines as pure singing.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely beyond words!!! May 11 2005
By R. J. Gonzalez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
At long last...a recording of the Wayfarer Songs that surpasses the classic Fischer-Dieskau from 1968...once thought to be unassailable!!! Why??? Quasthoff's ineffably beautiful voice and performance; Boulez' incredible, mellow, EMOTIONAL conducting; and the Vienna Philharmonic miraculously shadows the two of them with their very special signature sound. Fischer-Dieskau's voice always sounded to me like it was a limited instrument, but his artistry and intelligence always helped him navigate smoothly around its limitations. Quasthoff, on the other hand, has one of the most luscious voices for this repertoire and it is here displayed with a degree of subtlety and musicality that is touching -- heart-breakingly so...

Even more important, this recording features a timpanist than can play in tune. The Bavarian Radio Orchestra, under Rafael Kubelik, in the older recording, includes a timpanist that NEVER gets his lower note in tune with the rest of the orchestra: a serious problem to anyone with a trained musical ear, especially with all the exposed timpani solos in this music.

The Rückert songs and the Kindertotenlieder, as sung by Urmana and von Otter are good performances, but most definitely not on the plane of Quasthoff and the Wayfarer cycle. Too bad the idiots at DGG didn't get the other cycles recorded by Quasthoff, also!!! If that had been the case, this recording would have been an instant classic.

As it is, the Wayfarer Songs, as performed by Thomas Quasthoff on this disc, are worth every penny. For the other two cycles run, don't walk, and get Janet Baker's recordings on EMI/Angel, then pray DGG will record Quasthoff's performances very soon!!!

BUY THIS AND LOVE IT!!!

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