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Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn / Genz, Vignoles

Album Summary

>Mahler, Gustav : Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"To enter the world of Mahler's 'Wunderhorn' songs is like opening a picture book. Each page gives us another character, another fairy tale, another episode, whether happy or tragic, in the tale of human existence... such is the consistency of its musical tone that Mahler achieves a remarkably intense evocation of human life in this collection, portrayed with empathy, humour and compassion," notes pianist Roger Vignoles in his booklet essay. Some of these celebrated songs are much more familiar in their orchestral versions and pose a great challenge to the pianist; here Roger Vignoles achieves a great level of intimacy, while baritone Stephan Genz performs with the same musical intelligence and passion that characterized their first disc in this series.

'The charm of Mahler's Lieder-composing style - so close to Schubert's - comes across beautifully. Stephan Genz is more than just a very fine singer: his precision, sensitivity and range of imagination proclaim him a true successor to the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. And Vignoles's booklet note is an informative pleasure in itself' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Deeply affecting ... Warmly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Stephan Genz's light, warm and cultured baritone is especially fine in reflecting the ghost voices and moonlight serenades of Mahler's folk-inspired anthology ... This is the first time that I've heard a male voice take on 'Urlicht' ... and its quiet serenity, as in 'Wo die schonen trompeten blasen', is what Genz does best' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Urlicht is beautifully sung ... and Vignoles's playing is remarkably expressive throughout' (Sunday Times)

'This is a vibrant rendering of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn in the versions for voice and piano, a setting which requires the idiomatic approach Vignoles uses for the accompaniment and the nuanced tone Genz uses to evoke a sense of chamber music. Lacking the sonorous orchestral accompaniment, the singer is more exposed, and this allows Genz to display his vocal finesse well' (Opera Today, USA)

'It is a recording that seems, above all, to be characterised by enormous intelligence and sensitivity, from both singer and pianist ... Most prefer to here these songs in Mahler's brilliant and scathing orchestral versions but the artistry on show here makes me glad to hear them in the intimate, piano-only versions ... This disc, then, allows us to experience these wonderful songs close-up in all their variety, humour and pathos. Highly Recommended' (MusicalCriticism.com)

'Vignoles's pianism is so persuasive that one hardly misses the orchestral versions. In Revelge, for instance, his accompaniment to the song about the marching soldier has a suitably martial quality, while his playing of the lowest register of the piano to represent the drum rolls at the beginning of Der Tamboursg'sell is eerie and unforgettable. Genz, meanwhile, provides a well-characterised interpretation, his voice superbly controlled both in the vehemence of the prisoner's defiance in Lied des Verfolgten im Turm and in the beautiful pianissimos of Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen' (MusicOHM.com)

'This performance is a revelation, the simplicity of the piano setting and the serenity of Genz's performance casting a benediction on the entire program ... Genz and Vignoles have produced a worthy successor' (Fanfare, USA)

'[There are a number of other collections available ... ] But none of these has the clear and unambiguous sound that this Hyperion release has, especially the excellent piano balance, and Genz sings with a definite point of view and a nice sense of characterization. You have to have one of the orchestral versions, but you will also find much satisfaction in Mahler's superbly realized piano version as well, and this recording will serve many needs'(Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Roger Vignoles palpably revels in the task of conjuring a full Mahlerian orchestra... This CD is partly a demonstration of Genz's technique in this repertoire: the tone remains firm at even the most intimate levels and, most importantly, he binds consonants and vowels into the singing line, so that the lied emerges as a form of heightened speech. But it's a measure of Genz's sensitivity that one doesn't hear simply a great lieder singer at work. Instead, the entire set, with its panoply of characters, emanates from a recognizably "Wunderhorn" persona - direct, ingenuous, fully in tune with the material's folklore-ish nature' (Opera News)



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Works Details

>Mahler, Gustav : Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  • Performers: Stephan Genz (Baritone); Roger Vignoles (Piano)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: ?/?1892-07/1898