Mahler: Lieder / Barbara Hendricks
Label: ARTE VERUM
Derwinger, Love; Swedish Chamber Ensemble; Hendricks, Barbara
Following the success of her album Blues Everywhere I Go in 2015, Barbara Hendricks now returns to the grand Classical repertoire in this performance of lieder by one of the greatest composers in the genre, Gustav Mahler. An essential part of Gustav Mahler’s work belongs to the lied genre, which, together with the symphony, is one of the two key facets of his output. They are of capital importance in his work because the composer’s fusion of the two genres succeeded in breathing new life into both. The ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ (Songs of a Wayfarer) belong to his early creative period. This cycle of 4 very different melodies, with its obvious similarities to Schubert’s Winterreise, relates the story of a dreamy young man who is haunted in his wanderings by the memory of his beloved. He is the very picture of the Romantic Wanderer, portrayed with his existential sorrow, his mood swings, his hopes and his vexations. Fifteen years later, Mahler turned his attention to the poet Friedrich Rückert in composing his Rückert-Lieder, which marked an oasis of equilibrium during one of the happiest periods of his life, when he met his future wife, Alma. These superb miniatures translate inner states of mind in which the spirit of the traditional lied blends with that of the art lied. Although it is not a song cycle in the strict sense, it does have an overall unity of tone and mood. Having achieved a measure of perfection in the lied genre, Mahler could subsequently focus on a fusion of the lied and the symphony, a feat that would be realized in ‘Das Lied von der Erde’ (The Song of the Earth), that vast “symphony of lieder” constructed around a handful of Chinese poems. ‘Der Abschied’ (The Farewell) is the longest in the work, but it is also the most highly developed, and the music has a beauty, which, like the final words of Mahler’s masterpiece that concludes this album, is eternal.