Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn

by Claudio AbbadoClaudio Abbado


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It takes more than a pretty voice to sing Mahler's music. The singer must be able to express extreme emotions -- from angry despair to transcendent tenderness -- without affectation or operatic histrionics. The songs from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" (The Youth's Magic Horn), with their folksy, sometimes sentimental qualities, also require an abundance of humor and charm. Anne-Sofie von Otter and Thomas Quasthoff give a brilliant performance of these songs that rivals the classic recording by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (EMI). Like its predecessor, dignity is the hallmark of this more recent interpretation. In "Der Tamboursg'sell" (The Drummer Boy), for example, Quasthoff portrays a soldier being led to the gallows. And while his characterization is sadly sympathetic, there's also an underlying nobility that only makes the boy's plight more heartbreaking. Von Otter is just as powerfully affecting in "Das Irdische Leben" (The Earthly Life), dramatizing the plight of a hungry child and her helpless mother with hard-hitting emotional bluntness. The orchestra is no mere accompanist in this music, of course, and the Berlin Philharmonic plays superbly for Claudio Abbado, adding an appropriate bite to its usual dark, plush sound. Listen to the rugged swagger of the playing in "Revelge" (Reveille). DG provides sound that's both immediate and atmospheric, with perfect balance between the voices and orchestra.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/15/1999
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028945964621
catalogNumber: 459646


  1. Lieder aus Des Knaben Wunderhorn, songs (12) for voice & piano (or orchestra): Revelge

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