8 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 10 - July/August 2010

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same time disarmingly

same time disarmingly exquisite, unforcedwithout Romantic excess. The ease and purityof her playing is different from and unmatchedby her peers. In the concerto she issupported by Otmar Nussio and the RadioSvizzera Italiano Orchestra live from 1954and by Jean Antonietti in the Mozart livefrom Berlin in 1955. In clear sound, this is atreasure indeed.Gustav Mahler: TheComplete Edition(DG 47788256, 18CDs) contains everypublished note; thesymphonies and songcycles, plus the Klavierquartettsatzfrom1876. Rather than offeringthe symphonies by one conductor inone of the many complete cycles from theDG, Decca, and Philips, Alan Newcombe,the editor of this edition selected 10 differentconductors in performances that best servedthe composer. Most of us will have preferredversions, but each of the performances selectedhere has solid strengths. I had lost sight ofwhat a marvellous Mahler conductor RaphaelKubelik was but his performance of theFirst with The Bavarian Rundfunks is bothlyrical and dynamic. Mehta with the ViennaPhilharmonic takes the Second, with IleanaCotrubas and Christa Ludwig. Haitink’s 1966recording of the Third with the Concertgebouwand Maureen Forrester remains, formany, a performance of choice. The sensitivityof the Boulez Fourth from Cleveland wasunexpected while Bernstein’s Vienna Fifthhas not lost its impact. The Sixth with Abbadoand the Berlin Philharmonic from 2006may be considered definitive. The Seventhis from 1994 with Sinopoli and The Philharmonia.Solti’s justly lauded performance ofthe Eighth from 1971 with the Chicago Symphonyrecorded in Vienna’s Sofiensaal stillpacks a mighty wallop. (As it should, withThe Vienna State Opera Choir, The ViennaSingverein, The Vienna Sangerknabenand eight supreme soloists recorded by Decca’snow legendary recording team headed byKenneth Wilkinson.) The Ninth here is thesecond Karajan, recorded live at his requestin 1982. The final Deryck Cooke realizationof The Tenth is conducted by Ricardo Chaillywith The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.Blumine, the original second movement ofthe First Symphony is handled by Ozawaand The Boston Symphony while the interestingcuriosity Totenfeier, which was reworkedto become the first movement of theSecond Symphony, is played by Boulez andthe Chicago Symphony. Das Lied von derErde played by Giulini with The Berlin Philharmonic,Brigitte Fassbaender and FranciscoAraiza, is a worthy contender in the DasLied sweepstakes. Of the song cycles, Liedereines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder,and the Rückert-Lieder enjoy outstandinginterpretations by Thomas Hampson accompaniedby Leonard Bernstein and the ViennaPhilharmonic. Das klagende Lied was recordedby Riccardo Chailly conducting the BerlinRadio Symphony, the Dusseldorf Musikvereinand five of the best solo voices of the day(1989). The startling originality of this earlywork is vividly conveyed both in performanceand recording. Das Knaben Wunderhorn isperformed to perfection by Anne Sofie vonOtter and Thomas Quasthoff with Abbadoand the Berlin Philharmonic. The 17 Liederund Gesänge aus der Jungendzeit is entrustedto three artists, Bernd Weikl, Anne Sofievon Otter and Thomas Hampson. The PianoQuartet movement is played by Oleg Maisenberg,Gidon Kremer and Veronika and ClemensHagen. Finally, Mikhail Pletnev and theRussian National Orchestra play the Entr’actefrom Die drei Pintos, Weber’s unfinishedopera that Mahler completed and orchestratedfrom the composer’s sketches. A nicetouch. All together a very impressive packagein every respect ... doubly so as the pricefor the package is what one would have paidfor a just few of the symphonies not so longago! Unfortunately there are no translationsof the texts included but they can be readilydownloaded.Paavo Järvi who distinguished himself witha reenergised Beethoven Symphonies cyclefor RCA returns to Virgin Classics with avery impressive Mahler Second with theFrankfurt Radio Symphony plus the OrfeonDonostiarra choir of San Sebastian and soloistsAlice Coote,mezzo, and sopranoNatalie Dessay(50999 694586, 2CDs). I had expecteda good performance,not necessarilya great one. However,this is a spectacular one and a demonstrationquality recording. Järvi has true Mahleriansensibilities and this performance revealsan empathy that eludes many prominent conductors.It seems that any orchestra can bea Mahler orchestra under the right conductor.Järvi flawlessly balances his orchestra (hehas been their music director since 2004) sothat no lines are obscured. Even the glockenspieltowards the finale in the last movementis clearly heard without breaking out of thefabric. The off-stage forces are in the correctdistant perspective with no diminished presence.There are rests between particular passagesthat are quite differently judged fromany other performance that I’ve heard; theirheavenly lengths appropriate for a “Resurrection”(couldn’t resist that). This is a not tobe missed performance delivered in splendid,uncompressed sound.Included in Audite’srelease of fourarchive recordingsissued in a DietrichFischer-DieskauBirthday Edition isthe recital of MahlerLieder recordedlive on 14 September1971 in the Philharmonie in Berlin (95.634).These discs are copied directly from the mastertapes of Deutschlandradio so the fidelityof the stereo recording is first class. By 1971Fischer-Dieskau was established as the consummatelieder singer, his beautifully shadedtones and sensitivity to the texts never morein evidence than here. Daniel Barenboim, hisaccompanist, was a perfect colleague. Thereare four songs from Lieder und Gesänge ausder Jugendzeit; two Rückert-Lieder, Liedereines fahrenden Gesellen; and Des KnabenWunderhorn. Full texts are enclosed.More reviews online at thewholenote.comVisit our website atthewholenote.comfor additional reviewsINCLUDING• Robert Tomas’ impressions of a newStabat Mater (Philippe Jaroussky;Marie-Nicole Lemieux) from VirginClassics;• Janos Gardonyi’s review of Rossini’sOtello (featuring the Transylvania StatePhilharmonic Choir) from Naxos;• Dianne Wells’ review of two Gesualdorecordings - a DVD, Death for Five Voices,directed by Werner Herzog (ArtHausMusik), and a CD - Madrigals Book 1 -featuring Delitiae Musicae (Naxos); and,finally,• Terry Robbins’ take on two CDs fromNon Profit Music (Minds, and NoSeasons) both featuring Lebanese/Armenian violinist Ara Malikian in mostlycontemporary repertoire.T H ETM60 THEWHOLENOTE.COMJuly 1 - September 7, 2010

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