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'.