Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Mahler: Lieder Eines Fahrenden Geselle; Leider asu Des Knaben Wunderhorn; Kindertotenlider
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
Quasthoff in phenomenal form from the early Ninetites
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a reissue of Mahler performances delivered in Cologne in 1992 and 1993, and Thomas Quasthoff, just on the verge of international fame, was in phenomenal voice. The upper extension of his beautiful, expressive bass-baritone is thrilling, in perfect control. Artistically, he only grew stronger, as evidenced by his searing reading of 'Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen' under Boulez (DG), but this earlier interpretation comes close, and there's no comparison so far as vocalism is concerned. The WDR orchestra plays well under the rather prosaic leadership of the late Gary Bertini (a native Russian who emigrated to Palestine as a child in the 1930s)-- both are good enough, and the recorded sound is excellent. In all, this is a shattering reading by Quasthoff that should be heard by every lover of Mahler.
Next comes 'Kindertotenlieder,' recorded in concert, which Quasthoff hasn't recorded again to date. Bertini's utter ordinariness hurts here, because the greatest 'Kindertotenlieder' recordings are a collaboration of equals (Baker/Barbirolli, Ferrier/Walter), whereas Quasthoff must carry the whole show here. He's more restrained than in the earlier cycle but powerful and once again in great voice. Two of this singer's great gifts are his inwardness and an innate feeling for poetry, and Quasthoff is in full command of both. As singing per se, I've never heard a greater performance. (One hopes for a remake someday wth a better conductor, however.) The sonics are of studio quality.
The older Sweidsh baritone Hakan Hagegard, already an international star, is given four songs from 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn.' Hagegard doesn't have Quasthoff's reputation in Mahler, or in lieder for that matter, but at 48 he was still in prime voice in 1993. His singing is fully at Quasthoff's level, full of intensity, passion, and risk-taking. Too bad that Bertini ambles through the orchestral part, but Hagegard doesn't care. If only he had made a complete set of 'Knaben Wunderhorn.' As it is, it's worth seeking out his Wayfarer Songs under Masur with the NY Phil. (Teldec).