Mahler - Orchestral Songs

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GUSTAV MAHLER - Orchestral Songs - Kindertotenlieder - Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen - Rückert-Lieder - Katarina Karnéus (Mezzo) - Susanna Mälkki (Conductor) - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra - Hybrid SACD - 7318599916002 - Released: June 2011 - BIS SACD1600

Mezzo-soprano Katarina Karnéus, one of today's most sought after singers for both stage roles and recordings, enthralls us again with spellbinding renditions of some of Gustav Mahler's most evocative works, the Kindertotenlieder, Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen and Rückert-Lieder. Compositions that range from very early songs whose material was used as the foundation of his First Symphony, to later music that inhabits the same sound world as Das lied von der Erde.

Each and every individual song within these cycles inflicts taxing demands, both technical and expressive, on musicians brave enough to take up the challenge. Not only do they need to learn the music and text, but they should also immerse themselves deep inside the poetry to fully understand the mind set that Mahler was in at the time, and why he chose to set each one to music that stirs the imagination more than words ever could. Katarina Karnéus achieves just that and actually goes beyond the call of duty, by slipping inside the score and becoming the music. Mahler did not write these simply as songs for the voice, but rather as profound music to be performed by the human voice, and that's what this singer understands and brings to the table. She not only sings the notes, she lives them. She can saturate the music with sadness, awe, fright, wonder, spirit and beauty as the text and music indicate, and lead our minds to the visionary realm that Mahler created with music. The CD ends with one of the most touching and sublime moments in music, the Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I Am Lost to the World) from the Rückert-Lieder. If Katarina's interpretation, along with the apt orchestral support by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the heartfelt direction of conductor Susanna Mälkki don't captivate your mind or break your heart, take your medication and call your doctor.

Once again, BIS have delivered a pristine sound recording in which every strand of the music comes through naturally, without coloration or spotlighting, and projects the singer and orchestra outside the speaker cabinets.

Jean-Yves Duperron - June 2011