Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano; Ben Heppner, tenor Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Lorin Maazel RCA 74321-67957-2 Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde Violeta Urmana, mezzo-soprano; Michael Schade, tenor Wiener Philharmoniker; Pierre Boulez, conductor DG 469 526-2 Two recordings of Gustav Mahler's late romantic masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde have recently appeared. Each features· an outstanding Canadian tenor, Ben Heppner on one, with mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier, and Michael Schade on the other, with mezzosoprano Violeta Urmana. Both performances successfully capture the soul-searching intensity of this cycle of six symphonic songs, and rank with the best of the many recordings available of this work. DISCS OF THE MONTH SCHADE, where Heppner is valiant, is ardent. His lyrical voice floats brightly across Mahler's rich orchestrations. His ending of Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde, where the ominous "dark is life, dark is death" is repeated, suggests the hoped-for possibility that his moving supplications will have some effect. Urmana's plangent voice suggests worlds of sorrow and depths of mystery, especially in the monumental Der Abschied. The Vienna tails and ideally balanced layers of Philharmonic Orchestra under sound, building up the symphonic Pierre Boulez shimmers with di- textures Mahler sought. aphanous clarity and vivid effects. Both conductors demonstrate re He offers exquisite voicing of de- markable attentiveness to the many "... It was quite simply breathtaking:' - Weiner Zeitung details in Mahler's score. Clear and spacious sound distinguishes both recordings. With no apparent choice between these two gorgeous discs, the real winner here is the listener, who will do well with either. Ben Heppner is giving a recital at Roy Thomson Hall on Jan. 17. Michael Schade performs in Aldeburgh Connection's Birthday Salon, January 11, and Rossini's fl Viaggio a Reims at the Hummingbird Centre with the Canadian Opera Company from Jan.22 to February 3. Pamela Margles available at these great HMV stores: HEPPNER takes a highly expressive approach. He uses his enormous palette of colours to coax the meaning out of each word. He has an extraordinary ability to produce a stentorian tone then tenderly scale it back, without losing the presence of the sound. In Der Trunkene im Friih#ng the character of the drunkard emerges from his exquisitely sensitive interplay with a series of solo instruments. Meier matches Heppner's lustrous eloquence. In Von der SchOnheit, she declaims the almost sprechstimme-Iike passage with thrilling articulateness. Conductor Lorin Maazel masterfully shapes the orchestra in expansive lines of rich sonority. Vienna's Musikverein was home to one of the most exciting musical events of recent times in December 2000, when Sir Simon Rattle, Kyung Wha Chung and the Vienna Philhannonic joined forces for a series of highly anticipated performances that had musical Europe buzzing with excitement EMI Classics was there to capture the event live on disc. OTTAWA: 211-215 Sparks St. STE-FOY: Place laurier TORONTO AREA: 50 Bloor West 1st Canadian Place, Square One Sheiway Gardens www.emiclassics.ca 62 Wholenote D ECEMBER 1, 2001 - JANUARY 31, 2002
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