- Lulu-Suite, 5 symphonic pieces from the opera for soprano & orchestra ("Lulu-Symphonie")
- Das klagende Lied, cantata for soloists, chorus & orchestra
Gustav Mahler's "Das klagende Lied" (The Lamenting Song) was the composer's first major work, a dramatic cantata based on a violent fairy tale involving a buried bone that is carved into a flute whose song tells the story of the bone's original owner's murder. Mahler revised the work extensively over two decades, and it exists in two major versions (the one presented here is in two sections). It began as a gigantic work, eventually trimmed down to be sizable, and performances have been rare, even more so given the scarcity of resources attending the activities of most major orchestras. Conductor Pierre Boulez, 86 when the recording was made at the 2011 Salzburg Festival, probably knows the work as well as anybody, and the recording is well within his usual rage of precise, rather passionless performances. Tempos are on the quick side, small details are well articulated, and everything moves like clockwork. These virtues also apply to Berg's "Lulu Suite," a work particularly close to Boulez's musical heart, and he could not have found a better musical partner in realizing his aims than the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which has this music bred in its bones. He is aided by a group of luxuriously powerful soloists who are an absolute pleasure to listen to. What's missing? If you feel that a few histrionics bring out new meanings in Mahler, you won't find them here. But you will find an expertly done recording that can't really be faulted.