Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde

Album cover art for upc 028947789888
Label: DG
Catalog: 4778988
Format: CD

Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Josef Krips

Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde - 1. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde 2. Der Einsame im Herbst 3. Von der Jugend 4. Von der Schönheit 5. Der Trunkene im Frühling 6. Der Abschied

Wholenote Discoveries - July/August 2011
The high point of the 1964 Vienna Festival must surely have been the sold-out performance in the Musikverein Grosser Saal on June 14th of Das Lied von der Erde with Josef Krips conducting the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and soloists Fritz Wunderlich and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The Austrian Radio’s original tape cannot be found but the copy from the Krips family archive provided the source for this unique and extraordinary recording. In addition to his fame as a superb Mozart interpreter, Josef Krips, a fine Mahlerian, had a complete intimacy with the Mahler score and directs a total performance without the swooning, heart on the sleeve emotions that inhabit many others. This attentive, stoic reality is more telling and decisive when the soloists and conductor are in complete accord. There are exquisite passages when the conductor seems to be and probably is listening to and heeding the soloist. Listeners familiar with other versions will be taken aback to hear such astonishing gravitas from both singers, especially if you know the language or are following the translations provided. In this performance, Wunderlich is more fervent than he is in the Klemperer version which was recorded in London during the same year. He is positively ardent and comprehends the texts, totally conveying their determination. Fischer-Dieskau, too, is markedly expressive in all his songs. The final song, Der Abschied, The Farewell, is a profoundly moving experience the equal of which I have not heard from Fischer-Dieskau, Kathleen Ferrier, Christa Ludwig or anyone else. Fischer-Dieskau is deeply focused on the thoughts and feelings of the poet(s) as he faces the inevitable. He is quoted as saying that of all his performances of this work, this stands out as the very finest. What a convergence of talent that was and how fortunate that the Krips tapes have been faithfully restored by the Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin generating a CD that is clear as a bell, articulate and dynamic. It matters not that is monaural. Bruce Surtees
2011 is also a Mahler anniversary year – we commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death on 18 May. In conjunction with this anniversary we present a treasure from the archives: the Wunderlich / Fischer-Dieskau Das Lied von der Erde. Mahler’s great symphony of six songs on texts from an anthology of Chinese poetry was composed in summer 1908 – a period of anxiety and grief for the composer. The work celebrates the pleasures of wine and beauty and the joys of friendship, culminating in the overwhelming Abschied, a movement lasting half an hour, in which the poet takes farewell from his friend and from life. The CD is a live recording of a sold-out concert from the Vienna Festival, given at the Musikverein there on 14 June 1964, with tenor and baritone soloists. Josef Krips conducts the Wiener Symphoniker. It is being released for the first time, using a unique source in the Krips family archive, a copy of the original ORF (Austrian Radio) tape, which is no longer to be found. Faithfully restored by the expert engineers at the Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin, it is a marvel of singing from the two great soloists, who were both closely associated with this great work. Booklet notes by Thomas Voigt fill out the story with recollections from Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Harrietta Krips, the conductor’s widow; illustrations include extracts from the original concert programme booklet and newspaper cuttings of the time. Full sung texts and translations included (German, English, French).

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