Friday, November 26, 2004

Perhaps a Piece of Mahler's

I've been listening to a wonderful recording of Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde, a 1970 Bavarian Radio performance with Janet Baker and Waldemar Kmentt, conducted by Rafael Kubelik. Though it's a live recording, there are few audience noises, the sound is excellent stereo (highlighting the fact that Kubelik divides the violin sections), and thankfully the applause has not been included, so there's nothing to shatter the mood of the ending. Baker recorded Das Lied in the studio eight years later with Bernard Haitink, but she's better in this recording, and Kubelik, who never got to record this piece in the studio (though he made a fine complete set of the Mahler symphonies), gets just about everything right. For a more helpful description of this recording, read David Hurwitz's review. This has become one of my favorite recordings of the quintessential Mahler piece -- whose message I might Philistine-ly describe as "life sucks but things will go on the same after you're dead" -- along with the recordings of Klemperer and Bernstein.

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