I've set about answering my own questions by visiting the Gramophone's archive of reviews.
It seems that Bernstein goes for duets and Abbado doesn't.
This 1989 review by Richard Osborne http://www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page...7.#header-logo carefully considers the Bernstein/Concertgebouw, Chailly and Tennstedt recordings against the reference of DFD/ES/Szell and declares the latter to be still the champion, literally on points (he resorts to awarding marks out of ten for each song).
Interestingly, he says (end of 1st page) that Mahler 'certainly envisaged' duet performances. So now I'm even more confused!
Last edited by LeMartinPecheur; 11-06-11 at 15:46.
For anyone who missed it, the recommended version was: Anne Sofie von Otter, Thomas Quasthoff, Berlin Philharmonic, Claudio Abbado.
I future, I'll highlight the "winning version" in the list on the first posting.
A particularly interesting BaL, I thought, if a little unfair to Schwarzkopf. I know she has her detractors (lots of them) but I've always found her singing spot on in repertoire like this. Schwarzkopf/FD/Szell is the only recording I have but I must say I was very impressed with the winning version and particularly with Thomas Quasthoff. What an amazing voice he has - and far subtler than FD's.
Well, I've gorn and ordered the Bernstein/Popp version! The Abbado seems to be rated as a good safe choice, but IMO DKW isn't a good safe work - I fancy something a bit nearer the edge of the cliff! The Gramophone review of the Herreweghe finds it good for the baritone, the orchestra and recording, but feels that the mezzo isn't suited in range for the songs allocated to her and the keys chosen, particularly Das himmlische Leben from the 4th symphony. But Amazon has it at a good price (under £9 on one of its two entries - the other is c.£14) and I was tempted.
One oddity: Richard Wigmore spent a good deal of time on the Bernstein/Popp but it dosen't seem to be properly available at the moment. Amazon doesn't list it as such, and neither does Find-CD. I ordered it from an Amazon Marketplace seller in the US. BaL - where is thy consistency on these matters???
Last edited by LeMartinPecheur; 11-06-11 at 17:54.
Reason: Getting the 4th Symph setting right - DOH!!!
I shall gladly stay with my Forrester, Rehfuss, Prohaska CD. Occasionally I will listen to the Baker songs of the Morris version. I parted long ago (in my LP days) with ES/DFD/Szell. I might, over time, get the Boulez for Christian Gerhaher, though I already have his sublime Mahler Lieder disc on Sony with pianist Gerold Huber which includes 15 of DKW including Urlicht (plus the Ruckert Lieder for good measure).
Just a thought. It fascinates me that so many of the male singers in DKW are named Thomas!!.... Allen, Hampson, Quastoff, Stewart plus MTT accompanying.
Chris: if you've got 15 songs from DKW I think that's your lot. Many of the orchestral recordings - particularly those from LP days - only give 12, and the most I've seen is 15. The odd 3 are the ones that later got incorporated
Originally Posted by Chris Newman
into symphonies (Urlicht into the 2nd and Das himmliche Leben into the 4th), plus Es sungen drei Engel, written for the 3rd symphony and only absorbed into DKW retrospectively, even posthumously. Any advance on 15?
[Edit. As Professor Joad might have said, it all depends what you mean by DKW! Have just looked up the CD you mention on Amazon. It certainly contains a lot of Mahler's settings from the anthology of folk-poetry called Des Knaben Wunderhorn, but a good slice of them are from his three sets of Lieder und Gesange aus der Jugendzeit, which aren't usually considered to be part of Mahler's DKW. One significant difference is that they're songs for voice and piano which he didn't orchestrate, though some have been orchestrated by others. Prohaska apparently recorded a few such but I don't know who the orchestrator was.]
Last edited by LeMartinPecheur; 11-06-11 at 18:45.
Having discovered that I had both Prohaska versions and according to a search (using the free text search facility) on
the original (with Lorna Sydney/Alfred Poell) was recorded on 1 July 1950 and the 'remake' with Maureen Forrester/Heinz Rehfuss on 27 May 1963. Forrester is very fine (her voice was well suited to Mahler) but I'm not sure that I won't be sticking the Sydney/Poell back on the shelf, both in its orginal Nixa incarnation and the cheap Philips GL reissue, there to rejoin Charles Adler's Mahler 3 and 6, Scherchen's 2 and the Rosbaud 7, all fruits of an obsession with buying as many 'historic' Mahler performances as I could find.
I've just had a listen to my cassette version of the Forrester/Rehfuss/Prohaska (after a bit of trouble reducing wow and flutter to acceptable levels).
Forrester's tone-quality - she's contralto rather than the standard mezzo-sop - is indeed splendid but the singers (perhaps Rehfuss more than Forrester) seemed a bit close to the mikes, to the detriment of the orchestra. But hey, it was 49p from some Cornish Oxfam and I won't be throwing it out. Unless the wow and flutter gets terminal anyway...
After resampling the Baker/Evans/Morris from CD, I agree with an earlier poster that the Prohaska's recording quality is better. The Morris sounded very rough - congested and even distorted. If you want to sample it, a mere £22 (or even £48.50!) will get you an Amazon Marketplace s/h copy
Originally Posted by StephenO
I didn't get to hear much of the BaL, but caught up on the 'winner' on JJ's morning programme. (Or at least, excerpts from it. Shouldn't we always hear the complete work if possible? The earlier works in that programme didn't seem of particular significance.)
I wasn't over impressed with Quasthoff. It seemed to my (amateur, untrained) ear that at times he wasn't really singing, but just intoning the rhythm on a single note. Did anyone else feel this?
Absolutely loving the Connolly/Henschel/Herreweghe recording which lobbed in this morning.