MAHLER – DAS LIED VON DER ERDE – COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY – 2/3

Cf I -III

I continue this survey for movements 3 to 5 with:

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. (skipped some after 4).

3 – Youth – 4 – Beauty – 5 – The Drunkard in Spring

3
1 – Theme 1 (first flute and second oboe, mm. 3-5)

2 – Theme 2 (tenor, mm. 13-18)

3 – Theme 3 (tenor, mm. 39-47)

4 – Theme 4 (tenor, mm. 70-75)

In the middle of the little pond
stands a pavilion of green
and white porcelain.

Like the back of a tiger
arches the jade bridge
over to the pavilion.

Friends sit in the little house
well dressed, drinking, chatting.
some writing verses.

Their silk sleeves glide
backwards, their silk caps
rest gaily at the napes of their necks.

On the small pond’s still
surface, everything shows
whimsical in mirror image.

Everything stands on its head
in the pavilion of green
and white porcelain.

Like a half-moon is the bridge
its arch upturned. Friends
well dressed, drinking, chatting.


4.
1 – Opening figure (first oboe and horns in F, mm. 1-4)

2 – Theme 1 (tenor, mm. 4-5) 

3 – Theme 2 (tenor, mm. 6-8)

4 – Theme 3 (first violins, mm. 8-11) 

Young girls picking flowers,
Picking lotus flowers at the riverbank.
Amid bushes and leaves they sit,
gathering flowers in their laps and calling
one another in raillery.
Golden sun plays about their form
reflecting them in the clear water.
The sun reflects back their slender limbs,
their sweet eyes,
and the breeze teasing up the warp
of their sleeves, directs the magic
of perfume through the air.
O see, what a tumult of handsome boys
there on the shore on their spirited horses.
Yonder shining like the sun’s rays
between the branches of green willows
trot along the bold companions.
The horse of one neighs happily on
and shies and rushes there,
hooves shaking down blooms, grass,
trampling wildly the fallen flowers.
Hei! How frenzied his mane flutters,
and hotly steam his nostrils!
Golden sun plays about their form
reflecting them in the clear water.
And the most beautiful of the maidens sends
long looks adoring at him.
Her proud pose is but a pretense;
in the flash of her big eyes,
in the darkness of her ardent gaze
beats longingly her burning heart.


5.

1 – Opening figure (first oboe and horns in F, mm. 1-4)

2 – Theme 1 (tenor, mm. 4-5) 

3 – Theme 2 (tenor, mm. 6-8)

4 – Theme 3 (first violins, mm. 8-11) 

If life is but a dream,
why work and worry?
I drink until I no more can,
the whole, blessed day!

And if I can drink no more
as throat and soul are full,
then I stagger to my door
and sleep wonderfully!

What do I hear on waking? Hark!
A bird sings in the tree.
I ask him if it’s spring already;
to me it’s as if I’m in a dream.

The bird chirps Yes!
The spring is here, it came overnight!
From deep wonderment I listen;
the bird sings and laughs!

I fill my cup anew
and drink it to the bottom
and sing until the moon shines
in the black firmament!

And if I can not sing,
then I fall asleep again.
What to me is spring?
Let me be drunk!


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

3 – Still this voice rather coarse, but expressive. 8
4 – Singer unexpressive, very old singing style. 7

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

3 – A completely different singing, charming, a little sad. 8
4 – Same comments. 7

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

3 – The best vocal line so far. M. 97: superb tempo I as a concluding refrain. 9
4 – Maybe not the most suitable lied for this voice, superb conducting. 8.5
5 – Superb singing again, curious tunnel in the middle, taking anyway. 8

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

3 – Rather disappointing voice, unexpressive. 7.5
4 – Merriman sounds a little bit old and affected, animated conducting, with stunning passages. 8
5 – Everything – singer & orchestra – lacks of presence and poetry. 7

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

3 – As always with Reiner, rigid meters, but it works very well here, singer not exhilarating. 7.5
4 – Tempo a little slow, so Forrester is a little tip-toeing. As usual Chicago brass – as once said a conductor woman – took too many blue pills… 7,5
5 – Lots of efforts from the singer to animate, but the audition is a little tiresome. 7

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

3 – Again this expressionist singer, superb instrumental characterizations. 8.5
4 – Funny, tempo accelerates each time the – expressive – singer enters. Not the best orchestra, but a very vivid lecture. 8
5 – Again a very vivid lecture, too bad the sound comes from a 33t, expressive singer, sound like a heavy drinker… expressive accompaniment. 8

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

3 – A little slower than in 1952. Very Viennese, very poetic. 8.5
4 – Slower than in Vienna. Not a very expressive singer. 7,5
5 – Reverberated sound, still not fan of Haeffliger, lacks of presence (micros). 7

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

3 – Same comments as in I for the singer. Less poetic than Walter’s. 8
4 – Merriman a little more expressive than with Beinum. Detailed conducting with some striking fulgurances. 8
5 – Haefliger’s voice more present, a little affected though. Good orchestral animation. 7.5

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

3 – Slow tempo, the movement is marked “pleasantly cheerful”, which is not really the main characteristic here… Despite what sounds to me as a misinterpretation, the voice is superb. 7.5
4 – 7’46 when the average time is around 6’30… It works though. 8
5 – Rather slow, a little fearless. 7.5

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

3 – The singer is hopping a little, it lacks of poetry. 7.5
4 – Even slower than Klemperer. As Ludwig, DFD can ‘fill’ this tempo. Superb German pronunciation as usual and what expression! Rather nervous conducting. 8
5 – Rather external singing, orchestra very detailed maybe too much, vivid anyway. 7,5

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

3 – Everything lacks a little of presence, but it is really pleasantly cheerful here… 8
4 – Schönheit everywhere! Beautiful voice and singing – and pretty good German too – Tones animation without showing off at the orchestra. Superb – and it is live… 9,5
5 – Again, the voice is a lacking of presence, but so much coherence singer / orchestra and empathy. 8

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

3 – James King is better than with Bernstein, Nice atmosphere. 8
4 – Same beautiful singing line, orchestra less characterized but superb. 8.5
5 – Same comment for King, good lecture but not outstanding. 7.5

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

3 – Great presence of Schreier, good musical animation. 8
4 – Not the best voice, but attractive…  Not the best orchestra either, lacking of accents, enjoyable though. 7.5
 5 -Wonderful singing again, rather monochrome orchestra though. 8

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

3 – Nice overall atmosphere, baton a little affectionate, good singing. 7.5
4 – Nervous conducting, rather outside, narcissic singing. 7
5 – Lacks of accents, cushy. 7

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

3 – Orchestra not very detailed and rather flat. 6.5
4 – When singing, she conducts the music – a little too ‘grande dame’ though… Same comment about the orchestra; more animated here. 7.5

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

3 – Lacks of relief, orchestra far away. 7
4 – Same timing as Levine’s but appears much slower. Nice orchestral details, but a rather placid lecture, superb ‘horses’ passage though and a good singing. 7.5 (I dismissed this version, but listened later on to its Abschied: very good…)

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

3 – Light voice and orchestra, does not concern much. 7
4 – Fast tempo. singing line – curiously for this Wagnerian – on Viennese operetta side… You just don’t feel very concerned, by the orchestra too…

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

3 – Same tempo as before, voice on the light side, but much more appealing than the previous. 8
4 – Sounds more like M4, not the greatest voice (low emission) but altogether a refreshing lecture. 8
5 – Refined orchestra, stylish singing. 8

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

3 – Fast tempo, too much for me, but it is well built, good singing. 7.5
4 – Rather external and not very exciting, difficulties for the soloist. 7

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

3 – Superb phrasings at the orchestra, Kaufman a little ‘listen to my beautiful voice”. 7.5
4 – Once accustomed to a male voice, a little heavy for the score, you enjoy almost the best orchestra and conducting. 8
5 – Limpid orchestra, super sound, nice characterization from Kaufman. 8.5

I’ll keep for Abschied: Rafael Kubelik 2, Eugen Jochum, Otto Klemperer 2, Rosbaud; Bruno Walter Vienna, Bernard Haitink
Leonard Bernstein 1,,Kurt Sanderling, Michael Gelen & Jonathan Nott.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.