"This is perhaps not for those new to Mahler (no words for the songs, and only a selection from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn", but here are two discs crammed with mainly excellent performances. Fischer-Dieskau takes the baritone alternative in "Das Lied von der Erde" and while he is recorded too close he proves that *he* could give a spellbinding performance while ignoring Mahler's carefully marked dynamics (I don't think this would work for anyone else!). Baker and Barbirolli are beyond praise in their three cycles, and in her two songs, Lucia Popp is delightful. Buy it!!"
Baker! Dieskau! Barbirolli! Mahler!
Christian Miller | UK | 02/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A coupling of two classic releases. Baker's voice is for many, the Mahler voice. Fantastic warmth and espressiveness throughout, well matched by Barbirolli's mature and masterly direction of the orchestra (check out his Mahler 9 for incredible depth and passion). The songs are unutterably beautiful. What more can one say? Dieskau is on fabulous form in Das Lied, in a performance that is a clear demonstration that the spirit is often far more important than letter, in music. His singing is simply spell-binding and unforgetable, full of drama, character and subtlety. Some consider his later recording superior. I haven't heard it, so I find this unimaginable. Some of the technical demands aren't quite met here, specifically the fast sequence in 'Of Beauty', but this does not detract. Dicke sings well, but inevitably battles with Mahler's terrifying performance demands. Still, he does a creditable job of one of the must inhumanly difficult tenor parts in history. Kletzki's conducting is refreshingly crisp, and he makes sure his tempi don't drag, even in Das Abschied. This seems to be at the classical end of Mahler performance as opposed to the Bernstein romantic extreme. The close of the first movement is a finely conducted moment, and the closing bars of 'Das Aschied' ARE SPECIAL. Buy now!"
The Paul Kletzki Das Lied von der Erde
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 12/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Review of Paul Kletzki's interpretation of Das lied von der Erde.
The alternate take of Das Lied von der Erde, which uses a baritone instead of a mezzo (together with the usual tenor), has few recorded incarnations. This CD twofer, however, contains one of the classic though underrated accounts: Paul Kletzki is conducting the Philharmonia, and Murray Dickie (tenor) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) are soloists.
At face value, and with recording history in mind, one could have expected that this recording would be no match for the later very famous Bernstein version, with Vienna PO, having Fischer-Dieskau and King as soloists.
But in my view, Kletzki is a far better Mahler interpreter than Bernstein - he is simply more frantic and straightforward, less sentimental. And this makes a great deal when comparing these discs: where Bernstein lets his passion interrupt the flow of the music, so that we hear more of Bernstein than of Mahler, Kletzki makes the Philharmonia play as if it were the last day of the world - as I suppose Mahler would have done it.
Regarding the soloists on the Kletzki take: Dickie makes a good job, even if he's not a Heldentenor like King. And Fischer-Dieskau is singing with a sense of discovery. On the Bernstein take, by contrast, he sings more or less on routine.
Moreover, the recording quality fits at least my ear pretty well - we get an OK but old stereo recording (unfortunately with a harch treble in the upper register, however). And the Barbirolli/Baker takes incarnated in this twofer need no extensive comment - they are immortal classics.
A beautiful selection of some of Mahler's best!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Rochester, NY | 11/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A bargain to say the least! 2 breathtakingly beautiful cds full of Mahler's wonderful music. My favorite performance on the album is track ten-cd 2...the 5 Ruckert songs finale! Dame's voice is beyond description."