Music Web International: Recording of the Month June 2011; Classical Music Sentinel: "The CD ends with one of the most touching and sublime moments in music, the Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I Am Lost to the World) from the Rückert-Lieder. If Katarina's interpretation, along with the apt orchestral support by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the heartfelt direction of conductor Susanna Mälkki don't captivate your mind or break your heart, take your medication and call your doctor".
As a composer, Gustav Mahler was absorbed by song and symphony as complementary genres deeply involved with each other. So deeply involved, in fact, that the dividing line between the two is often blurred – most famously so in Das Lied von der Erde from 1909, which is variously described both as a cycle of orchestral songs and as a symphony. But already in 1888, in his first symphony, Mahler included two themes from the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, which he had recently composed to his own poems. At the time this cycle only existed in a version for voice and piano; possibly it was the experience of orchestrating these themes in his symphony that a few years later inspired Mahler to create the version for voice and orchestra. If the Lieder… is a fairly early example of Mahler’s particular gift for merging text and voice with the symphonic medium, the two other cycles on this disc represent him at his zenith, around the time of his Fifth Symphony. All of the songs in Kindertotenlieder and Rückert-Lieder are settings of poems by the poet Friedrich Rückert, composed between 1901 and 1904. For Kindertotenlieder (Songs of the death of children) Mahler chose five of more than four hundred poems written by Rückert in reaction to the death of his two children: poems of despair, disbelief and resignation. Only four years after the completion of the cycle, Mahler’s own daughter died, aged four. While Kindertotenlieder was conceived as a cycle, the Rückert-Lieder are more loosely connected with each other. They were originally composed for voice and piano, and the orchestral versions were published only after Mahler’s death. Nevertheless they include some of the most sublime Mahlerian moments, for instance in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. Besides having a highly successful opera career, Katarina Karnéus is a regular guest with prestigious orchestras, and her appearances in works by Mahler have been particularly praised, for instance in The Guardian in regards to a performance of Symphony No.2: ‘Urlicht, heart-stoppingly sung by Katarina Karnéus, became the spiritual centre of the piece’. She is here supported by the acclaimed Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by the sought-after Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki.
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