Mahler – Das Lied von der Erde – Complete discography – 1/3

Cf Part 2/3
Cf Part 3/3
This paper is dedicated to the memory of my brother Bernard with whom I did so many blind 'disc comps'.

A new complete discography, of one of my favorite works (sorry for my English). Composed for a large orchestra (with celesta and mandolin) in 1908-1909, it is an hybrid score, half lieder, half symphony (chamber style). It’s been written for alto and tenor, the alto being possibly replaced by a baritone if not available (we will find both cases in the discography, even one with a single singer: Kaufman / Nott – but Wunderlich did the baritone part with Klemperer and the alto one in a concert with Krips). And a singer became conductor (DFD).
I skipped the chamber version by Arnold Schoenberg (which he only began, completed by Rainer Riehn) and the original version with piano.

The “BMW” trio: Hans Bethge (1876-1946) who gathered and published old Chinese poems, Gustav Mahler who choose and modified some of them and Bruno Walter who created the work on 20 November 1911 in Munich, six months after Mahler’s death:

There are two legendary recordings: Walter / Wiener Philharmoniker / Patzak / Ferrier in 1952 and Klemperer / Philharmoniker / Wunderlich / Ludwig in 1967.
The first DLVDE recording had been made -live- by  Walter in 1936 in Vienna. Two other conductors who worked with Mahler never recorded it: Mengelberg and Fried. The studio recordings by Mahlerians from the 70′: Bernstein made two: for Decca – 1967, then CBS – 1974, Solti two for Decca: 1972 & 1994, Haitink one -1975 and Kubelík none.

There are at least 102 recordings published (both concert & studio) – see sleeves under – and I had access to 60 of them. It is difficult to compare versions and select some with the first song only: a bad baritone could hide a great alto and vice versa, so I will compare the first two movements (except for some in color) before abandoning some. Wonder if anyone will read all that stuff, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway…

The 60 versions with movement timings:

Bruno Walter
Wiener Philharmoniker
Kerstin Thorborg
Charles Kullman
1936
00:08:33
00:08:41
00:03:37
00:06:23
00:04:17
00:26:57
Carl Schuricht
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Kerstin Thorborg
Carl Martin Oehman
1939
00:08:55
00:09:37
00:03:32
00:06:40
00:04:53
00:19:08
Bruno Walter
New York Philharmonic
Kathleen Ferrier
Set Svanholm
1948
00:08:17
00:08:43
00:03:02
00:06:16
00:04:10
00:27:33
Otto Klemperer
Wiener Symphoniker
Elsa Cavelti
Anton Dermota
1951
00:07:02
00:09:04
00:03:17
00:06:27
00:04:06
00:22:35
Bruno Walter
Wiener Philharmoniker
Kathleen Ferrier
Julius Patzak
1952
00:08:48
00:09:22
00:03:04
00:06:49
00:04:26
00:28:26
Bruno Walter
Wiener Philharmoniker
Kathleen Ferrier
Julius Patzak
1952
00:08:34
00:09:21
00:03:05
00:06:24
00:04:50
00:28:52
Bruno Walter
New York Philharmonic
Elena Nikolaidi
Set Svanholm
1953
00:04:22
00:08:25
00:03:04
00:06:15
00:04:08
00:27:29
Paul Kletzki
Wiener Symphoniker
Oralia Dominguez
Set Svanholm
1954
00:08:08
00:08:47
00:02:57
00:06:14
00:03:58
00:27:39
Eduard van Beinum
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Nan Merriman
Ernst Haefliger
1957
00:08:45
00:09:19
00:03:03
00:06:48
00:04:16
00:28:12
Fritz Reiner
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Christa Ludwig
Richard Lewis
1958
00:08:34
00:10:41
00:03:13
00:06:53
00:04:34
00:30:51
Fritz Reiner
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Maureen Forrester
Richard Lewis
1959
00:08:36
00:08:35
00:03:22
00:06:43
00:04:29
00:29:48
Rafael Kubelík
Wiener Philharmoniker
Hilde Rössel-Majdan
Waldemar Kmentt
1959
00:09:22
00:09:13
00:03:20
00:06:42
00:04:42
00:27:41
Hans Rosbaud
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden
Grace Hoffman
Helmut Melchert
1960
00:08:41
00:10:48
00:03:29
00:06:36
00:04:32
00:28:47
Bruno Walter
New York Philharmonic
Maureen Forrester
Richard Lewis
1960
00:08:54
00:09:47
00:03:20
00:06:52
00:05:04
00:30:08
Bruno Walter
New York Philharmonic
Mildred Miller
Ernst Haefliger
1963
00:09:33
00:09:52
00:03:10
00:06:46
00:04:27
00:29:04
Paul Kletzki
Philharmonia Orchestra
Murray Dickie
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
1961
00:08:41
00:09:21
00:03:01
00:06:57
00:04:18
00:28:49
Eugen Jochum
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Nan Merriman
Ernst Haefliger
1963
00:08:51
00:08:50
00:03:11
00:06:29
00:04:29
00:26:54
Joseph Krips
Wiener Symphoniker
Fritz Wunderlich
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
1964
00:07:42
00:09:47
00:03:13
00:07:02
00:04:37
00:30:58
Otto Klemperer
Philharmonia Orchestra
Christa Ludwig
Fritz Wunderlich
1967
00:08:06
00:10:11
00:03:43
00:07:46
00:04:45
00:29:32
Carlos Kleiber
Wiener Symphoniker
Christa Ludwig
Waldemar Kmentt
1967
00:08:36
00:09:11
00:03:06
00:06:37
00:04:14
00:26:50
Leonard Bernstein
Wiener Philharmoniker
James King
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
1967
00:08:31
00:11:21
00:03:09
00:00:09
00:04:40
00:31:00
Rafael Kubelik
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Janet Baker
Waldemar Kmentt
1970
00:08:37
00:09:33
00:03:08
00:06:38
00:04:23
00:29:34
Joseph Krips
Wiener Symphoniker
Anna Reynolds
Jess Thomas
1972
00:08:01
00:09:38
00:03:13
00:07:05
00:04:43
00:29:36
Jacha Horenstein
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Alfreda Hodgson
John Mitchinson
1972
           
Georg Solti
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Yvonne Minton
René Kollo
1972
00:08:37
00:09:39
00:03:07
00:06:56
00:04:20
00:31:42
Leonard Bernstein
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Christa Ludwig
René Kollo
1974
00:08:35
00:10:11
00:03:00
00:07:33
00:04:10
00:30:06
Herbert von Karajan
Berliner Philharmoniker
Christa Ludwig
René Kollo
1975
00:08:52
00:10:08
00:03:22
00:07:19
00:04:27
00:31:49
Bernard Haitink
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Janet Baker
James King
1975
00:08:18
00:10:28
00:03:11
00:07:37
00:04:29
00:31:15
Raymond Leppard
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Janet Baker
John Mitchinson
1977
00:07:59
00:09:59
00:03:16
00:07:16
00:04:37
00:31:10
Walter Susskind
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Lili Chookasian
Richard Cassilly
1977
00:09:01
00:10:32
00:03:20
00:07:10
00:04:29
00:29:54
Lorin Maazel
Orchestra Del Teatro La Fenice Di Venezia
Christine Meyer
Richard Lewis
1982
00:08:31
00:09:47
00:03:05
00:06:18
00:04:32
00:27:54
Colin Davis
London Symphony Orchestra
Jessye Norman
John Vickers
1982
00:07:33
00:11:07
00:02:42
00:07:40
00:04:34
00:34:49
Carlo Maria Giulini
Berliner Philharmoniker
Brigitte Fassbaender
Francisco Araiza
1984
00:08:33
00:09:41
00:03:16
00:07:32
00:04:16
00:30:23
Kurt Sanderling
Berlin Symphony Orchestra
Birgit Finnila
Peter Schreier
1985
00:08:15
00:09:57
00:03:16
00:07:19
00:04:32
00:28:37
Anton Nanut
Radio Symphony Orchestra Ljubljana
Glenys Loulis
Zeger Vandensteene
1991
00:08:50
00:09:14
00:03:19
00:07:31
00:04:42
00:27:34
Klaus Tennstedt
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Agnes Baltsa
Klaus Konig
1992
00:09:48
00:09:59
00:03:12
00:07:34
00:04:50
00:31:28
Daniel Barenboim
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Waltraud Meier
Siegfried Jerusalem
1992
00:07:34
00:08:53
00:02:51
00:07:01
00:04:09
00:29:44
Michael Halasz
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Ruxandra Donose
Thomas Harper,
1995
00:08:02
00:09:01
00:03:08
00:06:36
00:04:25
00:27:18
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR
Yvi Janicke
Christian Elsner
1996
00:08:40
00:09:55
00:03:21
00:07:32
00:04:47
00:29:50
Giuseppe Sinopoli
Staatskapelle Dresden
Iris Vermillion
Keith Lewis
1997
00:08:42
00:09:47
00:03:16
00:06:52
00:04:44
00:30:25
Simon Rattle
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Peter Seiffert
Thomas Hampson
1997
00:08:29
00:09:43
00:03:14
00:07:02
00:04:32
00:30:29
James Levine
Berliner Philharmoniker
Jessye Norman
Siegfried Jerusalem
1998
00:08:38
00:10:27
00:03:16
00:07:19
00:04:39
00:32:15
Eiji Oue
Minnesota Orchestra
Michelle DeYoung
Jon Villard
1999
00:09:05
00:10:41
00:03:12
00:07:19
00:04:42
00:27:33
Esa Pekka Salonen
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Placido Domingo
Bo Skovhus
2000
00:08:33
00:09:06
00:03:14
00:07:17
00:04:36
00:28:16
Lorin Maazel
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Waltraud Meier
Ben Heppner
2000
00:09:00
00:09:13
00:03:00
00:06:32
00:04:53
00:29:52
Pierre Boulez
Wiener Philharmoniker
Violeta Urmana
Michael Shade
2001
00:08:32
00:08:35
00:03:02
00:06:52
00:04:35
00:28:56
Martin Sieghart
The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Christiane Stottin
Donald litaker
2007
00:08:03
00:09:04
00:02:59
00:06:46
00:04:05
00:28:08
Michael Tilson-Thomas
San Francisco Symphony
Stuart Skelton
Thomas Hampson
2008
00:08:25
00:09:31
00:03:16
00:06:58
00:04:25
00:30:38
Hans Graf
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Jane Henschel
Gregory Kunde
2009
00:08:38
00:09:30
00:03:16
00:06:57
00:04:30
00:29:43
Kent Nagano
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Klaus Florian Vogt
Christian Gerhaher
2009
00:08:29
00:09:38
00:03:11
00:06:48
00:04:10
00:29:07
Lan Shui
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Ning Liang
Warren Mok
2009
00:08:57
00:10:11
00:03:09
00:07:30
00:04:58
00:28:16
Michael Gelen
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden
Cornelia Kallisch
Siegfried Jerusalem
2011
00:08:19
00:10:13
00:03:02
00:07:15
00:04:35
00:30:04
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Sydney Symphony
Lilli Paasikivi
Stuart Skelton
2011
00:08:38
00:09:03
00:03:10
00:06:26
00:04:32
00:28:10
Eliahu Inbal
Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
Iris Vermillion
Robert Gambill
2012
00:08:18
00:09:24
00:02:58
00:06:50
00:04:07
00:26:40
Marc Albrecht
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Alice Coote
Burkhard Fritz
2013
00:08:18
00:09:41
00:03:01
00:07:40
00:04:29
00:29:50
Yannick Nézet-Séguin
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sarah Connolly
Toby Spence
2013
00:08:05
00:09:34
00:03:02
00:07:21
00:04:18
00:31:43
David Zinman
Tonhalle Orchester Zurich
Susan Graham
Christian Elsner
2014
00:08:37
00:09:58
00:03:06
00:07:13
00:04:12
00:29:45
Norichika Iimori
Japan Century Symphony Orchestra
Kei Yonashiro
Kei Fukui
2015
00:08:02
00:09:43
00:02:59
00:07:00
00:04:05
00:28:03
Jonathan Nott
Wiener Philharmoniker
Jonas Kaufmann
Jonas Kaufmann
2017
00:08:06
00:09:57
00:03:08
00:06:56
00:04:26
00:28:33
Zubin Mehta
Münchner Philharmoniker
Peter Seiffert
Thomas Hampson
2017
00:08:30
00:09:10
00:03:09
00:06:51
00:04:23
00:26:31
Jonathan Nott
Bamberger Symphoniker
Stephen Gadd
Roberto Saccá
2017
00:08:02
00:10:18
00:03:05
00:07:15
00:04:15
00:28:29
Simon Rattle
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Magdalena Kozená
Stuart Skelton
2018
00:08:12
00:09:37
00:03:02
00:07:13
00:04:36
00:31:28

To begin with, comments on the work by Lenny:

I put some videos of featured artists – many recordings can be heard on YT.

1 – The Drinking Song of Earth’s Misery – 2 – The Lonely one in autumn

No tempo indications. Selected versions range from 7′ to almost 10′. It’s indicated at the beginning Allegro pesante, nicht schnell.
4 main themes in this movement:
1 – Horns, mm. 1-3

2 – Two solo violins, mm. 179-185

3 – ‘Extasy’ melody – From Tristan mm. 121-125

4 – Refrain, tenor, mm. 81-89

The wine beckons in golden goblets
but drink not yet; first I’ll sing you a song.
The song of sorrow shall ring laughingly in your soul.
When the sorrow comes, blasted lie the gardens of the soul,
wither and perish joy and singing.
Dark is life, dark is death!

Master of this house,
your cellar is full of golden wine!
Here, this lute I call mine.
The lute to strike and the glasses to drain,
these things go well together.
A full goblet of wine at the right time
is worth more than all the kingdoms of this earth.
Dark is life, dark is death!

The heavens are ever blue and the Earth
shall stand sure, and blossom in the spring.
But you O man, what long life have you?
Not a hundred years may you delight
in all the rotten baubles of this earth.
See down there! In the moonlight, on the graves
squats a wild ghostly shape;
an ape it is! Hear you his howl go out
in the sweet fragrance of life.
Now! Drink the wine! Now it is time comrades.
Drain your golden goblets to the last.
Dark is life, dark is death!

The second movement‘s duration goes from 8’15 to 11’21…
1 – Oboe – mm. 3-21

2 – with a violin accompaniment – mm. 1-3:

3 – Arch shape vocal line – mm. 25-31
4 – Rocking figure – Cello – mm. 19-20

Autumn fog creeps bluishly over the lake.
Every blade of grass stands frosted.
As though an artist had jade-dust
over the fine flowers strewn.

The sweet fragrance of flower has passed;
A cold wind bows their stems low.
Soon will the wilted, golden petals
of lotus flowers upon the water float.

My heart is tired. My little lamp
expires with a crackle, minding me to sleep.
I come to you, trusted resting place.
Yes, give me rest, I have need of refreshment!

I weep often in my loneliness.
Autumn in my heart lingers too long.
Sun of love, will you no longer shine
to gently dry up my bitter tears?


Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Kerstin Thorborg (1896-1970) – Charles Kullman (1903-1983) – 1936

1 – Old sound of course, difficulties at the violins at the beginning (live recording), very Viennese otherwise. Charles Kulman is generally quoted as a tenor though he could sing heavier roles – his voice sounds like one of an older man (he was then 33), a little bit like Patzak ; thus it is very well sung – a little sprechgesang style – all indications very well followed. 7.5
2 – Kerstin Thorborg is rather prim, beautiful conducting though. 7.5 This is the first complete recording (excerpts exist by Talich (1934) & Fried (1936)).

Carl Schuricht (1880-1967) – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Kerstin Thorborg  – Carl Martin Oehman (1887-1967) – 1939

1 – Wagnerian voice, a little heavy, but at ease in this rather slow tempo; more tones and clarity at the orchestra than the previous, better articulations too (Mengelberg?). 8
2 – Orchestra not really clean (live) , same remark for the singer. 7.5

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – New York Philharmonic – Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953) – Set Svanholm (1904-1964) – 1948

1 – A live recording, a little hesitant sometimes as for the singer. A document. 7

Otto Klemperer (1885-1973) – Wiener Symphoniker – Elsa Cavelti (1907-2001) – Anton Dermota (1910-1989) – 1951

1 – Faster tempo. Beautiful voice -maybe a little light- and singing line. The tempo makes you think a little of cabaret music, which is not so much off topic… Tense and beautiful end. 8
2 – Superb motive 2, pace and atmosphere, but a rather placid singer. 7.5

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953) -Julius Patzak (1898-1974) – 1952

1 – Glowing orchestra – very lively orchestral sound, the most powerful lecture so far. I didn’t recall Patzak was so ‘singing’. A little tunnel in the middle though. 8.5
2 – Distorded sound. You hardly recognize Ferrier. 6.5

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953) – Julius Patzak (1898-1974) – 1952


1 – Given apprently a day after the recording session (see http://gustavmahler.net.free.fr/daslied.html). Voice is closer, less refined, the orchestra, is about the same, beautiful timbres. 8
2 – Beginning less stunning than Klemperer, it is funny, I thought I was knowing this by heart and I am almost disappointed by Ferrier’s voice. I’ll keep it though. 7.5

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – New York Philharmonic – Elena Nikolaidi (1909-2002) – Set Svanholm (1904-1964) – 1953

1 – One wonders how many times Walter conducted this work… Set Svanholm sounds much more ‘à l’aise’ than 5 y. before. A steady voice, but again a little exterior. Walter is efficient as usual. 7.5

Paul Kletzki (1900-1973) – Wiener Symphoniker – Oralia Dominguez (1925-2013) – Set Svanholm (1904-1964) – 1954

1 – The conducting is more metronomic here, nicely detailed in the central section though (mm. 201-252), Svanholm the same as above, with some effects he didn’t do before. 7

Eduard van Beinum (1901-1959) – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Nan Merriman (1920-2012) – Ernst Haefliger (1919-2007) – 1957

1 – Mengelbergs’ successor in Amsterdam. The best orchestra heard to now, all indications followed. Haeffliger much more persuasive than Svanholm. The whole is vivid and almost dramatic. 8.5
2 – A deception, the conducting lacks of warmth, great voice though. 7.5

Fritz Reiner (1888-1963) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Christa Ludwig (1928*) – Richard Lewis (1914-1990) – 1958

1 – This a live recording. I guess C. Ludwig didn’t participate at the official recordiing for contractual reasons. Distant sound, good conducting, a little straight, good singing too but everything is far away. 7

Fritz Reiner (1888-1963) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Maureen Forrester (1930-2010) – Richard Lewis (1914-1990) – 1959

1 – The same ones, of course a much better sound in studio. It’s not very moving, both rather cold, but it is very well sung and the orchestra is superb -brass almost too much-,  implacable conducting. 8
2 – Slow tempo – large voice, superb orchestra and conducting, a sensation of ‘too much’ though. 8

Rafael Kubelík (1914-1996) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Hilde Rössel-Majdan (1921-2010) – Wlademar Kmentt (1929-2015) – 1959

1 – Orchestra a little hesitant at the beginning, then very detailed and beautifully phrased. Kmentt is good. A peaceful reading at a very slow tempo. 7.5
2 – It is lacking of inner tension, singer vibrates a lot. 7
(Kubelík did Der Abschied with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1963, in a concert in memory of Ferenc Fricsay).

Hans Rosbaud (1895-1962) – SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden – Grace Hoffman (1925-2008) – Helmut Melchert (1910-1991) – 1960

1 – A rather expressionist singer, with many modulations, appealing. Lively conducting, rather good orchestra – invasive glockenspiel. 8
2 – One of the slowest version. Maybe the most satisfying alto up to now…  Big relief at the orchestra. 8.5

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – New York Philharmonic –
Maureen Forrester (1930-2010) – Richard Lewis (1914-1990) – 1960


1 – Live – given few days before the following and last Walter’s studio recording. Orchestral playing not completely clean. Lewis again a little distant. 7.5
2 – Many noises. Though I recall stunning Bach cantatas with Scherchen, the voice is here annoying. 7

Bruno Walter (1976-1962) – New York Philharmonic – Mildred Miller (1924*) – Ernst Haefliger (1919-2007) – 1960

1 – Orchestra a little reverberated and distant. Sensible singing, soft side. A rather placid lecture at a (too much?) slow tempo. 7.5
2 – Big voice, great style, animated and phrased playing. 8.5

Paul Kletzki (1900-1973) – Philharmonia Orchestra – Murray Dickie (1924-1995) – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012) – 1961

1 – Detailed orchestra, but a rather harsh lecture, strings emphasized, good singing. Impressive but not moving. 7.5

Eugen Jochum (1902-1987) – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Nan Merriman (1920-2012) – Ernst Haefliger (1919-2007) – 1963

1- DG did not dare to make Kubelík record it, since they had this version in their catalogue already. Ernst Haefliger is more engaged here, best appearance so far with Patzak and Melchert if not the best one. Superb orchestra, the best for this work? (always thought the Concertgebouw and the Bavarian radio were the most suitable for Mahler’s music). Drive and sense of architecture from Jochum. 9
2 – Not my favorite singer, but she is better here than with Beinum. Superb orchestra, a little extrovert maybe. 8.5

Joseph Krips (1902-1974) – Wiener Symphoniker – Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966) – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012) – 1964

1 – Live – Fast tempo, steady singing from Wunderlich, of course one of the most beautiful tenor voice ever. Not the best orchestral timbres to say the least. 7.

Otto Klemperer – Philharmonia Orchestra – Christa Ludwig (1928*) – Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966) – 1967

1 – From the horns theme you feel it  will be ‘aristocratic’. Wunderlich is a little less expressionist than in concert. Superb fusion solo / orchestra (and balance). Wonderful interlude, the overall is a little bit cold maybe but you are stuck towards the end. 8.5
2 – Slow. Superb articulations, balance soloist / orchestra, wonderful timbres, great singing. 9

Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004) – Wiener Symphoniker – Christa Ludwig (1928*) – Waldemar Kmentt (1929-2015) – 1967

1 – Rather bad sound, thick orchestral image. The orchestral part sounds more like an accompaniment. 6.5

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) – Wiener Philharmoniker – James King (1925-2005) – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012) – 1967

1 – A very decided and dynamic lecture, singer integrated to the orchestra, exactly the contrary of the Kleiber live. Very good singing – orchestra sometimes too loud. 8.5
2 – The first male singer. Very slow tempo. It works very well, appealing, indications followed to the max if not exagerrated. 8

Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) – Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Janet Baker (1933*) – Waldemar Kmentt (1929-2015) – 1970

1 – Rather global sound. Kmentt here more meaningful. Warm and poetic lecture (interlude!), in contrast with Bernstein’s. 8
2 – Superb, not any excess here, just poetry and beautiful singing. 9

Joseph Krips (1902-1974) – Wiener Symphoniker – Anna Reynolds (1931-2014) – Jess Thomas (1927-1993) – 1972

1 – Affected singing – Rather prosaic lecture. 6

Jacha Horenstein (1898-1973) – BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra – Alfreda Hodgson (1940-1992) – John Mitchinson (1932*) – 1972

1 – (Live – YT) – Vivid lecture, good singer, not a first class orchestra. Balance problems. 7.5

Georg Solti (1912-1997) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Yvonne Minton (1938*) – René Kollo (1937*) – 1972

1 – Curiously rather bad sound from Decca, Kollo is far away. Straight and exterior conducting. 6

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – Christa Ludwig (1928*) – René Kollo (1937*) – 1974

1 – Rather bad sound again – treble emphasized, average orchestra. Kollo is here better than with Solti. If Bernstein gets some animation, we don’t feel any conception. 6.5

Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) – Berliner Philharmoniker – Christa Ludwig (1928*) – René Kollo (1937*) – 1975

1 – Again René Kollo and the first recording with Berlin. Good alliance soloist/orchestra. Hedonist, automnal, softer than dramatic but beautiful passages. 7.5
2 – The Fliessend m. 33 is too soft and slow. Good singing from Ludwig, less concerned than with Klemperer. Rather annoying. 7.5

Bernard Haitink (1929*) – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – Janet Baker – James King – 1975

1 – Much more engaged lecture: back to Mahler after HvK… Good singing but not really appealing. Definitely the best orchestra. 8
2 – Beautiful atmosphere, Baker better recorded than with Kubelík, tempo a little slow for my taste. 8

Raymond Leppard (1927*) – BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra – Janet Baker (1933*) – John Mitchinson (1932*) – 1977

1 – A curiosity (Marinner didn’t do it…).  Singer far away, Nothing happens in this rather prosaic lecture. 6

Walter Susskind 1913-1980) – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – Lili Chookasian (1921-2012) – Richard Cassilly (1927-1998) – 1977

1 – Slow tempo, rather bad sound recording, good singing but the result is boring. 6

Lorin Maazel (1930-2014) – Orchestra Del Teatro La Fenice Di Venezia – Christine Meyer (?) – Richard Lewis (1914-1990) – 1982

1 – Old sound, bad orchestra. 5

Colin Davis (1927-2013) – London Symphony Orchestra – Jessye Norman (1945*) – John Vickers (1926-2015) – 1982

1 – One of the fastest tempi. Vickers does what he can, but interests which is not the case of the orchestra, rather flat. 6.5

Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005) – Berliner Philharmoniker – Brigitte Fassbaender (1939*) – Francisco Araiza (1950*) – 1984

1 – Besides DLVDE, Giulini made only M1 & M9. Back to Berlin. A tenor with a small projection. Beautiful orchestra but it lacks of drive. 7

Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011) – Berlin Symphony Orchestra – Birgit Finnila (1931*) – Peter Schreier (1935*) – 1985

1 – Still East-Berlin at that time. Reverberated and a little distant sound. A very good tenor this time, animation, plenty of atmosphere. 8.5
2 – Rather fast tempo. Big and expressive voice, Rather dark and cold. 7.5

Anton Nanut (1932-2017) – Radio Symphony Orchestra Ljubljana – Glenys Loulis [Linos ?] (1941*) – Zeger Vandensteene (1940*) – 1991

1 – Though frequently appearing on cheap labels, Nanut was a great conductor, not well known in western countries. Good tenor, a little mannered. A rather restful lecture. 7.5
2 – Operatic singing, vibrato, good conducting though. 7.5

Klaus Tennstedt (1926-1998) – London Philharmonic Orchestra – Agnes Baltsa (1944*) – Klaus Konig (1934*) – 1992

1 – Slow tempo. Too slow for me: singing lacks of impact, stretched phrasing at the orchestra. Interesting though. 7.5
2 – A little fluctuating, as for HvK, m. 33 too slow, low tension singing. 7

Daniel Barenboim (1942*) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Waltraud Meier (1956*) – Siegfried Jerusalem (1940*) – 1992

1 – Fast tempo. Singer distant and mellow, Not very exciting despite interesting details at the orchestra. 7

Michael Halasz (1938*) – National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland – Ruxandra Donose (1964*) – Thomas Harper (?) – 1995

1 – Dull sound. Sung like Schubert, rather ugly tones. 6

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012) – Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR – Yvi Janicke (1959*) – Christian Elsner (1965*) – 1996

1 – Live – The conductor doesn’t hold the tempo, uninteresting. 5

Giuseppe Sinopoli (1946-2001) – Staatskapelle Dresden – Iris Vermillion (1960*) – Keith Lewis (1950*) – 1997

1 – Nervous conducting, brass emphasized, made you think of Das klagende Lied, good singing. Original. 8
2 – Animation, same style as N° 1. Warm and concerned singing. 8.5

Simon Rattle (1955*) – City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – Peter Seiffert (1954*) – Thomas Hampson (1955*) – 1997

1 –  Animated orchestra, big slow down before the interlude, good singing, almost like joyful. A pleasant version. 7.5

James Levine (1943*) – Berliner Philharmoniker – Jessye Norman (1945*) – Siegfried Jerusalem (1940*) – 1998

1 – Siegfried Jerusalem is better recorded than with Barenboim. Animated conducting, it is lively and well agenced, with soft but beautiful tones. 8
2 – Like Ferrier, a voice far away from the standards. The orchestra sounds small in comparison… Beautiful though. 8

Eiji Oue (1956*) – Minnesota Orchestra – Michelle DeYoung (1968*) – Jon Villard (?) – 1999

1- No information about the singer. Big voice, slow tempo, very well conducted with a great sense of musical lines. 8
2 – Strings a little soft, voice not very clear, good conducting and nice atmosphere anyway. 7.5

Esa Pekka Salonen (1958*) – Los Angeles Philharmonic – Placido Domingo (1941*) – Bo Skovhus (1962*) – 2000

1 – Good idea to cast Domingo. Some tunnels, conducting rather febrile. 7

Lorin Maazel (1930-2014) – Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Waltraud Meier (1956*) – Ben Heppner (1956*) – 2000

1 – Tense singing, tempo fluctuations, but altogether a rather powerful and interesting version. 7.5
2 – Great conducting (yes), a German soprano, altogether convincing. 8.5

Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Violeta Urmana (1961*) – Michael Shade (?) – 2001

1 – Recording a little distant, no reproach to make, it just doesn’t concern much the listener. 7

Martin Sieghart (1951*) – The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra – Christiane Stottin (?) – Donald Litaker (?) – 2007

1 – Not the best orchestra, some details perfectible, nothing very good as for the soloist or the orchestra. 7

Michael Tilson-Thomas (1944*) – San Francisco Symphony – Stuart Skelton (1968*) – Thomas Hampson (1955*) – 2008

1 – Nice details, rather metronomic, Tenor far away and lacks of presence. 7

Hans Graf (1949*) – Houston Symphony Orchestra – Jane Henschel (1952*) – Gregory Kunde (1954*) – 2009

1 – Everything sounds very light; off topic, agreable though. 7

Kent Nagano (1951*) – Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal – Klaus Florian Vogt (1970*) – Christian Gerhaher (1969*) – 2009

1 – I heard them live in Paris at that time and got bored. Same here. The tenor seems singing some Lortzing… 6

Lan Shui (1957*) – Singapore Symphony Orchestra – Ning Liang (?) – Warren Mok (?) – 2009

1 – The version sung in Chinese – since Hans Bethge collected the poems mostly from French collections, maybe once a French version?
Good tenor though and elegant conducting. 7

Michael Gielen (1927*) – SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden – Cornelia Kallisch (1956*) – Siegfried Jerusalem (1940*) – 2011

1 – Happy to listen to a great conductor. It’s animated, detailed but with wit; just Jerusalem was more present with Levine. 8
2 – Again great conducting, rather placid singing. 7.5

Vladimir Ashkenazy (1937*) – Sydney Symphony – Lilli Paasikivi (1965*) – Stuart Skelton (1968*) – 2011

1 – Recorded in a station hall? Languid. 6

Eliahu Inbal (1936*) – Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra – Iris Vermillion (1960*) – Robert Gambill (1955*) – 2012

1 – Animated conducting, slows down at the tenor’s entries.  Rather muffled sound. 7.5 
2 – Superb introduction, singing a little overarticulated but expressive. 8

Marc Albrecht (1964*) – Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra – Alice Coote (1968*) – Burkhard Fritz (1970*) – 2013

1 – Not a very steady conducting. Tunnels. 6

Yannick Nézet-Séguin (1975*) – London Philharmonic Orchestra – Sarah Connolly (1963*) – Toby Spence (1969*) – 2013

1 – Imaginative conducting, tenor not really convincing. 7.5
2 – Again a fast tempo. Nothing remarquable, but no critic either. 7.5

David Zinman (1936*) – Tonhalle Orchester Zurich – Susan Graham (1960*) – Christian Elsner (1965*) – 2014

1 – Sound lacks of presence. It’s not very exciting, they all should have had a drink before? 7

Norichika Iimori 1963*) – Japan Century Symphony Orchestra – Kei Yonashiro (?) – Kei Fukui (1963*) – 2015

1 – Japanese singers. Rather inconsistant. 6

Jonathan Nott (1962*) – Wiener Philharmoniker – Jonas Kaufmann (1969*) – 2016

1 – It is not an error: Jonas Kaufmann sings alone the whole thing. I liked many of M symphonic recordings by Jonathan Nott at Bamberg. Beautiful atmosphere, animation, integration singer / orchestra; violins divided, beautiful orchestral image. 8
2 – So the same singer… It works less well than with DFD, sounds both heavy and prim. Beutiful orchestra. 7.5

Zubin Mehta (1936*) – Münchner Philharmoniker- Peter Seiffert  (1954*) – Thomas Hampson (1955*) – 2017

1 – Pleasant conducting, rather global, Seiffert a little distant. A good version, lacks of tension. 7

Jonathan Nott (1962*) – Bamberger Symphoniker – Roberto Saccá (1961*) – Stephen Gadd (1964*) – 2017

1 – Faster than in Vienna. The orchestra is not at the same level. Tenor not convincing. 7

Simon Rattle (1955*) – Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Magdalena Kozená (1973*) – Stuart Skelton (1968*) – 2018

1 – Not a steady conducting, many intentions, soft tones, but poetic. 7.5
2 – Some hardnesses in the voice, but with presence. The conductor seems to be more concerned by local – and beautiful – atmospheres than with the global structure. 7.5

So for the following movements, I will keep:
Eugen Jochum, Otto Klemperer 1, Rafael Kubelik 2, Hans Rosbaud, Leonard Bernstein 1, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Eduard van Beinum, Fritz Reiner, Bruno Walter – NY, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Sanderling, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Jonathan Nott 2, Carl Schuricht, Otto Klemperer 2, Bruno Walter – Vienna, Eiji Oue, Michael Gelen & Eliahu Inbal.

 

 

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