MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor/baritone, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Jonathan Nott, cond.
SONY 538983 TT: 62:00
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There are almost a hundred recordings of Das Lied von der Erde including the historic - and perhaps definitive 19xx recording with Kathleen Ferrier, Julius Patzak and the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter, issued a number of times (REVIEW). The work is written for tenor and contralto or baritone, and most recordings feature a contralto. There are other famous recordings by Otto Klemperor (Christa Ludwig / Fritz Wunderlich), and Carlos Kleiber (Christa Ludwig / Waldemar Kmentt) (REVIEW). The work is written for tenor and contralto or baritone, and most recordings feature a contralto.The first major recording to use a baritone was Leonard Bernstein's Vienna 1966 recording with James king and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Since that time there have been a number of recordings with a baritone including a recent SACD with Stephen Gaad and the Bamberg Symphony conducted by Jonathan Nott (REVIEW).

Nott is a respected Mahler conductor having recorded many of the symphonies; it is unfortunate they weren't with the Vienna Philharmonic! Nott's accompaniment of Das Lied is perfection, and the orchestra is at its best. Kaufmann has no vocal problems either as tenor or baritone, and his reading is among the best. Quite a feat!

The recording was made in Vienna's Musikverein June 16 - 22, 2016. Christopher Adler was the producer, Philip Krause the engineer. They have done their task to perfection. I do not know of any other Vienna Philharmonic recording as clear, rich and detailed as this. Complete texts are provided. An outstanding issue in every way!.

R.E.B. (April 2017)