Mahler: Orchestral Songs (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/ Katarina Karnéus/ Susanna Mälkki) (BIS: BISSACD1600)
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Swedish Mezzo-soprano and former winner of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, Katarina Karneus is joined on this disc by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki to perform three of Gustav Mahler's orchestral songs. As a composer, Gustav Mahler was absorbed by song and symphony as complementary genres deeply involved with each other. In his first symphony, Mahler included two themes from the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, originally scored for voice and piano, which he had recently composed to his own poems. It was perhaps the experience of orchestrating these themes in his symphony that a few years later inspired Mahler to create the version for voice and orchestra. All of the songs in Kindertotenlieder and Ruckert-Lieder are settings of poems by the poet Friedrich Ruckert, composed between 1901 and 1904. For Kindertotenlieder (Songs of the death of children) Mahler chose five of more than four hundred poems written by Ruckert in reaction to the death of his two children: poems of despair, disbelief and resignation. While Kindertotenlieder was conceived as a cycle, the Ruckert-Lieder are more loosely connected with each other and they include some of the most sublime Mahlerian moments, for instance in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.
'Urlicht, heart-stoppingly sung by Katarina Karneus, became the spiritual centre of the piece'The Guardian on Karneus' performance of Mahler's Second Symphony.
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