Pierre Boulez adds the two last missing bricks to complete his Mahler discography on Deutsche Grammophon. Recorded live in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra the program brings together the early orchestral song cycle from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, featuring mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and baritone Christian Gerhaher with the late Adagio of Mahler’s fragmentary Symphony No. 10
The concert took place only a few months before Gustav Mahler’s 150 Birthday. The concert is also part of the celebrations of Pierre Boulez’ 85 birthday this year.
“The undoubted star of the "Wunderhorn" songs was Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená, whose plush voice and dramatic flair handily captured the essences of scenes steeped in the miseries of war, poverty, and ephemeral love.” (Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
“The reading under Boulez was one of extremes, marked by crushing softness, biting dissonance, and throat-grabbing peaks. Yet it was also cool and insightful, elucidating how the score's modest themes unfold and accumulate weight to magnificent effect over time.” (Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
“This performance had the hallmarks of the great Boulez/Cleveland Orchestra collaboration: precision of sound and tuning, transparency of texture with details being elucidated, flexibility of rhythm appropriate to this last of the great Viennese symphonists, but without being overwrought.” (ClevelandClassical.com, Cleveland)
Der Schildwache Nachtlied
Trost im Unglück
Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht?
Das irdische Leben
Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt
Lied des Verfolgten im Turm
Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
Lob des hohen Verstandes
17th September 2010
“...the Cleveland Orchestra’s elegant subtlety almost passes belief in the adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony...But the voices inevitably take pride of place, with the baritone Christian Gerhaher superbly characterised, clear as a bell, and the mezzo Magdalena Kozená distinctive if slightly muffled. It’s a wonderful disc, regardless.”
23rd September 2010
“...the Cleveland Orchestra's playing (in a concert at its home at Severance Hall last February) is fabulously precise and refined, while Magdalena Kožená (despite the occasional uncertain intonation) and Christian Gerhaher lavish immense care on colouring and inflecting every phrase.”
5th October 2010
“Boulez the arch-modernist unsurprisingly emphasises the grinding dissonances in Mahler’s only completed movement from his Tenth Symphony. But in the song cycle “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” he belies his reputation for clinical coolness with a lovely lyricism”
“The musical future is thrillingly present in this searing live performance...Gerhaher and Boulez together explore and recreate that fragile warmth of nostalgia. The lithe, toned muscle of both orchestra and voice, everywhere meticulously balanced, maximises each expressive nuance.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.