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Classical - Released October 9, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
Known for her brilliant work in Mozart’s roles, the German soprano Christiane Karg also excels in Puccini (Musetta in La Bohème), Richard Strauss (Zdenka in Arabella) and even in the title role of Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. This “Erinnerung” (Memory) recital is dedicated to a selection of Lieder by Gustav Mahler, drawn largely from his vast collection of popular songs from the Knaben Wunderhorn, some early compositions, and the Rückert-Lieder - one of the composer’s most accomplished cycles.On piano, his long-standing partner Malcom Martineau is an ideal match. He wonderfully modulates his sound to match the singer’s every intention. The final two pieces in this recording are unusual for the fact that he hands the piano over to the composer himself! Gustav Mahler has indeed “recorded” his compositions (such as Ich ging mit Lust and the famous Das himmlische Leben which closes Symphony No. 4) on perforated card for a Welte-Mignon system.Approached on a modern keyboard, the Welte-Mignon’s automatic articulated fingers reproduce Mahler’s tempo, intentions and, to some extent, touch. It’s obviously not a perfect replication, but Christiane Karg’s considerable effort to follow his tortuous rhythm is tremendously moving. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
In an effort to arrange the first performance of his Seventh Symphony, Gustav Mahler declared it to be his best work, ‘preponderantly cheerful in character’. His younger colleague Schönberg expressed his admiration for the work, and Webern considered it his favourite Mahler symphony. Nevertheless, it remains the least performed and least written-about symphony of the entire cycle, and has come to be regarded as enigmatic and less successful than its siblings. One reason for this has been the huge – even for Mahler – contrasts that it encompasses: from a first movement which seems to continue the atmosphere of the previous symphony, the ‘Tragic’ Sixth, to a finale that has been accused of excessive triumphalism, and which Mahler himself once described as ‘broad daylight’. Between these two poles, he supplies no less than two movements entitled Nachtmusik framing a Scherzo to which the composer added the character marking "schattenhaft" (shadowy). Mahler famously said that ‘a symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything’. The Seventh is as true to this dictum as any other of the symphonies, offering a wealth of emotions, moods and colours. The composer makes full and imaginative use of the orchestra’s extended wind and percussion sections – including cowbells, whips and glockenspiel – as well as a mandolin and a guitar, adding a troubadour-like aspect to the nightly serenade of the fourth movement. All of this is brought to life by the players of the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä, as they continue a cycle praised for the performances as well as the recorded sound. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released January 22, 2021 | Accentus Music

Hi-Res Booklet
Some orchestras more than others reveal with natural acuity the sonic and poetic imagination of a composer. For Mahler, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra seems the ideal instrument. Something very deep in the textures of this orchestra invariably sets it apart: the acoustic space always seems wider than the senses might suggest; the sound takes the time to live, in the moment and in its extension. The orchestra immediately moves Mahler's world away from a post-romanticism that diminishes him, and likewise it declines to plunge him into excessive modernity. This is not Klemperer, Bernstein or Boulez. This is a very singular world, whose rhetoric is really nourished by the freedom granted to each timbre, and by the combination of what makes them unique. In concert, the experience remains as memorable as it is breathtaking. Parisians for example had the chance, in February 2019, to hear the Third Symphony at the Philharmonie by the same artists, then on tour, at an evening performance recorded by France Musique. Musical director of the Bamberger Symphoniker since 2016, the excellent Jakub Hrůša, always concerned with balance, lets the orchestra flourish and open like a flower, with multiple layers, while making sure to keep the line flowing. In this regard, Ruhevoll is a moment of pure beauty, unheard of sensitivity, with phrasing, polyphonic balances – the opening theme! If you really like Mahler, you cannot miss this absolutely essential, immersive journey into the heart of nature. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | PentaTone

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Some divide recordings of Mahler's symphonic song cycle Das Lied von der Erde into "subjective" (Leonard Bernstein, and more recently, Simon Rattle) and "objective" (Pierre Boulez) readings. Perhaps conductor Vladimir Jurowski finds a middle road in this version, recorded live with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin at the Philharmonie in 2018. Jurowski contributes an extended note in which he argues that Mahler found a new "lyrical" mode in Das Lied von der Erde, in contradistinction to a "heroic" Beethovenian mode, and his reading broadly reflects this view. Many fine points emerge in the score, but this is due to a relaxed mood and space for details rather than to any attempt to be microscopic about the work. In Jurowski's hands, Das Lied von der Erde is more an orchestral song cycle than a symphony, with each of the five movements taking on its own flavor. There's much more to be said about Jurowski, and much to be said in favor of tenor Robert Dean Smith, who confidently takes on the borderline singable first movement. The best of all here is Sarah Connolly's run in the epic "Der Abschied," which in its deliberate long line both fits well with Jurowski's overall concept and is just sensuously, tragically gorgeous on its own, likely destined to become one of the highlights of her later career. PentaTone's superbly clear live sound seals the deal on a very fine Das Lied von der Erde. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 18, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
This recording was made under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw in December 2019, two months before his death. A few weeks before that, he had called Thomas Dieltjens, artistic director of Het Collectief, to tell him: ‘Since our concert in mid-July 2019 at the Saintes Festival, I’ve been haunted by Das Lied von der Erde. I’m totally under its spell, and every day I discover new things in this masterpiece by Mahler. Wouldn’t it be a dream if we could record this music with the outstanding group of instrumentalists and soloists we had in Saintes? And preferably as soon as possible?’ Reinbert himself made the arrangement for fifteen instrumentalists and two soloists and invested all his remaining strength in the recording of this music, which encompasses the whole of life, from the freshness of birth to the moment of farewell... A testamentary album, with the moving mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot, which gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to one of the key ambassadors of twentieth-century music. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Aside from his sensational Wagner Ring cycle, if one recording in Georg Solti's catalog bears repeated reissues, it must be his truly legendary rendition of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, "Symphony of a Thousand," a captivating performance that was unmatched in its day and one that still holds its own against later releases. This 1971 recording is especially worth considering because of its unequaled octet of singers -- sopranos Heather Harper, Lucia Popp, and Arleen Augér, contraltos Yvonne Minton and Helen Watts, tenor René Kollo, baritone John Shirley-Quirk, and bass Martti Talvela -- whose ecstatic voices are set against three great Viennese choirs and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing its absolute best. Such a confluence of talent under Solti's baton certainly makes this version desirable, but what makes it fascinating to hear is the stunning mastering, which brings out all of this magnificent recording's refined details, spatial depth, and dynamic power, making it an even more compelling listening experience than it was on vinyl. This extraordinary recording is not only highly recommended, it is mandatory for all serious Mahlerians. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | BIS

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Left unfinished at the death of the composer, Gustav Mahler's Tenth Symphony has exerted an enormous fascination on musicologists as well as musicians – a kind of Holy Grail of 20th-century music. Recognized as an intensely personal work, it was initially consigned to respectful oblivion, but over the years, Alma Mahler, the composer’s widow, released more and more of Mahler’s sketches for publication, and gradually it became clear that he had in fact bequeathed an entire five-movement symphony in short score (i.e. written on three or four staves). Of this, nearly half had reached the stage of a draft orchestration, while the rest contained indications of the intended instrumentation. Over the years a number of different completions or performing versions of ‘the Tenth’ have seen the light of day. One of the most often performed and recorded of these is that by Deryck Cooke. Cooke himself insisted that his edition was not a ‘completion’ of the work, but rather a functional presentation of the materials as Mahler left them. Cooke’s performing version of the symphony is the one that Osmo Vänskä has chosen to use for the seventh installment in his and the Minnesota Orchestra’s "Mahler series", a cycle characterized by an unusual transparency and clarity of sound as well as musical conception. © BIS Records
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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2011 | Warner Classics International

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
“If one sought a musical manifestation of all the painful experiences and tragic failures of European history in the early 20th century, it would be impossible to overlook the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Here, there is no harmony where discord is more fitting. Here, life cries out, with all the conflict and joy it prof-fers humanity. In their performances, Kirill Petrenko and the Bayerisches Staats-orchester have enabled these experiences to resonate in remarkable fashion. What better way to launch the Bayerische Staatsoper’s new label than with this outstanding live concert recording”. (Nikolaus Bachler, General Manager, Bayerische Staatsoper) Kirill Petrenko, general music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper from 2013 until 2020, conducts Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 – a pinnacle of the symphonic repertoire in a dramatic interpretation. This is the first audio-recording with Kirill Petrenko as chief conductor of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester. © Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings
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Classical - Released December 6, 2019 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Symphonies - Released October 26, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
With Symphony No.6 in A Minor "Tragic" written in 1904 (the title, for once, is not a publisher's gimmick, but was indeed given by Mahler in the programme for the first performance in Vienna in 1906), Mahler almost returns to the classical symphony format; we find more voices in the score (a technique that he had already used in No. 5) and a four-movement structure (whereas No. 5 was articulated in five movements thrown into three "parts", with the absence of a programme or philosophical content). Admittedly, the orchestra remains huge, with four woodwinds, eight horns, and six trumpets, not to mention an impressive arsenal of percussion instruments including alpine bells, hammer and xylophone, which he never used elsewhere; in this respect, Mahler contributed to putting an end to the late romantic trend of gigantic works for titanic orchestras. It must be said that the last movement, which lasts at least half an hour, is of a truly tragic expression with its indelible darkness. This frightened the critics, who found the work somewhat bloated. It is therefore up to the conductor to make the score as transparent as possible, the contrapuntal lines readable and the orchestral colours perceptible through the orchestral immensity. Equipped with his MusicAeterna, Teorod Currentzis embarks on the adventure. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 18, 2006 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Even though Gustav Mahler's vast Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, "Symphony of a Thousand," is the most difficult of his works to mount -- with an expanded orchestra, an organ, eight vocal soloists, boys choir, two large adult choirs, and an off-stage brass ensemble, it outstrips even the massive instrumentation used in the Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection" -- it has become one of the most frequently recorded of the cycle. Indeed, its increased popularity is due in part to the greater availability of recordings of the work. This Naxos recording by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, augmented by various singers and choirs, is one in a long list of perfectly acceptable renditions, though like most, it is not ideal in every respect. Some slight coordination problems between the choirs and the orchestra make the Veni, Creator Spiritus seem a little loose in the tutti passages; and the the vocal solos and ensemble passages are given too much rubato, specifically at "Infirma nostri corporis" and "Da gaudiorum praemia," an effect that breaks the movement's momentum. Part II bears these affecting touches better, since the final scene from Faust amounts to a sacred opera in Wit's interpretation, and such flexible pacing is a time-honored post-Romantic mannerism. On the whole, this performance is enthusiastic and polished, and there are no dull stretches or major mistakes to complain about; for a good recording to study the piece, this double-disc will fill the bill nicely, especially at the affordable price. The sound quality is fine throughout, and many of the orchestral niceties missed on other releases come through quite clearly. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released April 30, 2013 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Marc Albrecht's PentaTone release of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde is among the finest modern recordings of this work, both for the depth of the interpretation and for the exceptional audiophile sound quality. This is Albrecht's first recording of a Mahler work, and though he is known as a specialist in the operas of Richard Strauss, this clearly works to his advantage in Das Lied, which lies stylistically between a symphony, a song cycle, and an opera. The wonderfully seraphic Alice Coote and the intensely ardent Burkhard Fritz are highly dramatic in their delivery, and the vocal parts give the performance a theatrical air, especially because of the spacious acoustics around the voices make them seem almost operatic in the multichannel recording. The playing of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is marvelously shaded and vivid, providing a subtle accompaniment that reinforces Mahler's ever-changing expressions and giving Das Lied a richly burnished tone. The only problem with this recording is a trace of what seems like humming in Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde, which unfortunately was picked up in the highly sensitive DSD recording. Other than that flaw, this is an exceptional presentation that Mahler fans should eagerly seek out. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7 has been subject to perhaps a greater variety of interpretations than any of his other orchestral works, with a classic version by Hermann Scherchen clocking in at well under 70 minutes but one by Otto Klemperer with the New Philharmonia Orchestra lasting more than 100. Is the work a big orchestral nocturne, as its later nickname, "Song of the Night," suggested? Is it a philosophical statement? An expression of Viennese neurosis? The work seems to spill over its own boundaries in an almost random way, but analysis reveals a careful overall harmonic structure. Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer, with his closely associated Budapest Festival Orchestra, leans toward the quick end of the spectrum (it's just under 75 minutes long), but the overall tone is warm, without the histrionic surprises of Leonard Bernstein's approach to Mahler. Only in the central Scherzo is there a real bite. Sample the finale, where he lets the movement's uneasy shifts of tonality and thematic material speak for themselves rather than putting you on a careening roller coaster ride, and he emerges at the end with real sunniness. In his hands the work is something of a song of the night -- and morning. Fischer, whose younger brother Adam has also recorded this work (how's that for sibling rivalry?), has the kind of control over the orchestra that comes from long acquaintance. This offers an X factor in the recording's favor, as does Channel Classics' fine sound from the Palace of Arts in Budapest and Fischer's own extensive reflections in the booklet. A recommended version of this thorny symphony. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 19, 2019 | London Philharmonic Orchestra

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Ah yes, glissandos galore! How we have missed them. While it sometimes seems as though every contemporary conductor, both young and old, feels obliged to bring their own ideas to Mahler’s work, Vladimir Jurowski, already a highly-distinguished conductor who has often explored the works of the “Czech” composer (Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Totenfeier), is not afraid of relying on expressive phrases that seem somewhat questionable today. It is strange, because such joy, performed with such style, is hard to resist... And what a Ruhevoll he delivers on this album! Jurowski continues his Mahlerian journey here with Symphony No. 4. He offers a completely original touch, mingling influences from Dvořák and Janáček with those of Bruckner and Strauss. Is this what Mahler would have wanted? In any case, he is modern precisely for that reason, and Jurowski knows it. It all seems like a game to him. Don’t bother looking for the ethereal (found in Abbado’s interpretation) or eternity (Haitink). Instead, the flutes gargle, the clarinets growl, the bassoons blush, the timpani roar, and above all this bohemian commotion, the violins sing with their “pricking” technique. The fluctuating poetics of Bedächtig have rarely sounded so alive, natural or radiant. The scordatura of the second movement conjures up an image of hell, acting as an appetiser for the Burleske from the Ninth. Finally, the horn continues resounding and, even in the middle of hell, lyricism triumphs. In the final lied (Sehr behaglich), Sofia Fomina, with her perfect voice, performs a light dance with a childish spirit that transcends the lyrics “No music on earth is comparable to ours” (Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden die unsrer verglichen kann werden). It begs the question: were Seefried and Walter the inspiration for this enchanting interpretation by Jurowski? And when will Symphony No. 6 be released?! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 7, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released August 16, 2019 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released July 7, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklets
There are plenty of recordings of these three Mahler song cycles, but this one by mezzo-soprano Alice Coote stands out from the crowd. It may seem extreme, but it might equally be regarded as simply having the kind of direct emotional commitment that classical performances used to have before the genre got too decorous. A symphonic counterpart might be Leonard Bernstein's Mahler recordings, and one guesses that Mahler would have loved both. Coote is really powerful in the Kindertotenlieder, the Songs of Dead Children, and she's one of the few singers who really enter into the texts of Rückert. She can blaze in the higher ranges and take it down to an extremely uncanny echolike effect in the midrange: sample "Ging heut' morgen über's Feld," the piece that furnished the thematic material for the first movement of the Symphony No. 4 in G major, starting about three and a half minutes in, when Coote seems to fade into the background. Conductor Marc Albrecht keeps the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra largely out of Coote's way, although all the details are there, and are captured by Pentatone's precise engineering. A fine set of Mahler song cycles. © TiVo