Thomas Hampson adds a special version of Des Knaben Wunderhorn to his huge discography of works by Gustav Mahler. Released in Mahler Year 2011, this album celebrates the 100th anniversary of the composer's death. It is Hampson’s first ever studio recording of the orchestra version of Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Hampson is joined by The Wiener Virtuosen, a chamber ensemble of the highly acclaimed principal players of the Wiener Philharmoniker.
“Mahler’s music is a ‘sound cosmos’ unto itself […] It is a reflection of my own world, something that’s extraordinarily informative to me as human being.” (Thomas Hampson)
“[Hampson] refines his forces to those of the Wiener Virtuosen...This has the effect of creating a wonderfully fresh imaginative take on the songs...these slimmer forces really put a spring in the music's step...And his choice of tempos...is often inspired...A constantly absorbing recital.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2011 ****
“no performer has ever had a more comprehensive knowledge of the manuscript sources...Instrumentally speaking, the results are fabulous...Long-term admirers should not expect the immaculate finish...of the singer's youth. Instead we have a more autumnal brand of vocalisation, one that arguably suits these feisty, individualistic songs of ordinary folk.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2011
“Mahler’s whole world is here, rendered in a fabulously piercing and tender performance...It’s partly to do with the reduced chamber scoring used by the Vienna soloists, which makes Mahler’s orchestral colours seem unusually vivid. But Hampson is also on superb form, catching the music’s emotional complication as well as its folk-like simplicity.” The Telegraph, 4th February 2011 *****
“The principal revelations are instrumental, with sinewy, acerbic textures steering us into a world closer to German expressionism than post-romanticism.” The Guardian, 10th March 2011 ***