CD & DVD

A perfect Mahler reputation

09.02.2015


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Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder, Rückert-Lieder * * * *
Christian Gerhaher (baritone)
Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Kent Nagano
Sony Classical
 
Christian Gerhaher’s Mahlerian voice possesses neither a ringing tone nor a natural beauty. Possibly the first name that comes to one’s mind is Fisher-Dieskau, for whom the same could have been said. Indeed, comparisons have been made of Gerhaher and him, though I find little resemblencas, bearing in mind the absolutely unique voice Dieskau had. Nevertheless, Gerhaher’s emphasis of words and building phrases on the verse, his musicality in dynamic changes and not for once letting the musicality slip, especially in less melodic passages, do provide for great lieder singing. The Kindertotenlieder is one part which you may wish to listen before deciding whether or not to purchase the CD. This is not a tragic rendering, but it is a dark one. It is more serious and grave, rather than poignant. The tone is not deep, but tense and well maintained. There is rarely warmth and almost never intimacy. Yet the climaxes are then suddenly painful in their own way.  Gerhaher is a good baritone, but not a great one. And this is a good Mahler recording, which should not be compared with the great interpretations of the past. Such vocal successes are rare these days so buy it if you are a fan of these pieces. You will like it.

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