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Song of the Earth / Ruckert Lieder
Mahler, Ormandy, Davis
Song of the Earth / Ruckert Lieder
Genres: Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

This disc is a real sleeper. On LP, with recessed sound, it was a total nonstarter. Remastered onto CD, however, it suddenly reveals a performance of well-nigh incomparable beauty. The only rival to the Philadelphia Orc...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Mahler, Ormandy, Davis, Lpo
Title: Song of the Earth / Ruckert Lieder
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 5/3/1994
Genres: Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074645351827

This disc is a real sleeper. On LP, with recessed sound, it was a total nonstarter. Remastered onto CD, however, it suddenly reveals a performance of well-nigh incomparable beauty. The only rival to the Philadelphia Orchestra for sheer quality of playing is the Concertgebouw Orchestra on Philips. It's fashionable in vocal circles to disparage Lili Chookasian, a good but not great singer, but here she really gives it her all, as if she understood that this would be her musical testament. It's a very fine performance, and Richard Lewis is a Das Lied pro. Nothing to complain about there. Throw in Frederica von Stade's lovely Rückert Lieder as a bonus, and at budget price, this is an incredible deal. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Unsung heros
Charles Emmett | Oroville, California (the boonies) | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I still do not understand why Maestro Ormandy always got the short end of the stick when it came to the great neo-classic masterpieces. He did a magnificent recording of Mahler's 1st with the 'Blumine' movement on RCA along with the 2nd, 'Resurrection', which is still the best one out there and he also had the first recording of the Derrick Cooke reconstruction of Mahler's unfinished 10th on SONY.At the time everyone was touting Maestro Bernstein and Sir George Solti with the CSO and reviews that said that the CSO proved its superiority over any other orchestra in the world, and here Maestro Ormandy, quietly recorded four masterful performances, of which Das 'Lied Von Der Erde' was the last, I believe.If there was or still is the perfect Mahler orchestra the PHO is still it (I refer you to the 'Titan' performed magnificently by Ricardo Muti with the PHO-goosebumps the whole time I was listening). No other has captured a sound that is nonpariel romantic. Maestro Ormandy recorded all of the Russian composers who were inspired by Mahler and captured that sound these composers wanted, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and I am sure there a some others that I now forget. (I almost forgot Sibelius). He also performed them with Mahlerlike/Eastern European passion. His conducting and the orhestral playing is absolutely magnificent. I had goosebumps, while listening to this recording, the whole time. Richard Lewis, Lili Chookasian were both wonderful, although I thought the mike was a little too distant for Ms. Chookasian. I can remember hearing comments on the performance of 'Der Abschied' by Sir George, and I used to have that recording, but Ormandy is more passionate and the orchestra plays so maginicently and the strings, as usual, add a mystical quility and color that was totally missed by Solti. In fact, that quality was magnificent throughout this recording. The brass and wind sections were wonderful. Norman Carrol, French Horn, John deLancie, oboist, and I don't know if the trumpet was played by Gilbert Johnson or Frank Kadderback, but they were magnificent as well. I have always loved to hear tremolo from the brass section. I am sorry that it seems to not be present in any of the PHO recordings since the Maestro passed away.Each 'song' is crafted and played, by the Maestro, so wonderfully and the union of singers with the orchestra is sublime. The Maestro captures the mood of each piece with tenderness when needed and then passionate explosions of sound, as only Mahler can do. I have had hundreds of Ormandy, PHO recordings and have loved them all but this could be his finest performance of all and the orchestra with him. I just wish that the Ruckert Lieder had been performed with him and Ms von Stade.
Would have been a wonderful contrast, but with a Mahler conductor.Come on RCA and SONY re-release the rest of the Ormandy Mahler recordings.This is an absolute must for any classical collection. Write SONY and RCA and demand!!! re-releases of Ormandy's Mahler!"
Highly musical Mahler
Michael E. Fine | Lake Ariel, PA United States | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I grow older, my appreciation for Eugene Ormandy grows, thanks largely to the many inexpensive reissues of his work. Though never highly regarded as a Mahlerian, his Das Lied does just about everything right without resorting to the hysteria which ruins much of the favored Bernstein/Vienna performance. Ormandy's is a supremely lyrical account that lets the score unfold naturally. He presents a wealth of orchestral detail in the most natural manner - never spotlighted or dragged out of proper balance. The Philadelphia Orchestra is superlative and the sound excellent. Both soloists offer straightforward and musical accounts without effacing the memories of Wunderlich and Ludwig for Otto Klemperer or Patzak and Ferrier for Bruno Walter (still my two favorite Das Lied's.) There is a lot to be said for honest music making and Eugene Ormandy is a champion of the musicmaking that is merely musical. Listeners who need to be jolted out of their seats should look elsewhere."