- Gregory Kunde (Tenor)
Notes & Reviews:
In 1907 Mahler suffered a series of severe losses. Following pressure, he resigned his position as Director of the Court Opera in Vienna. After his elder daughter Maria died, he himself received the diagnosis of a severe heart condition. During the summer of 1908, Mahler sketched Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), a 'symphony for two vocal soloists and orchestra'. The texts, taken from Hans Bethge's The Chinese Flute, are concerned with the themes of transience and loss, culminating in the overwhelming Der Abschied (The Farewell). The Houston Symphony and Hans Graf have recorded Zemlinsky and Berg on Naxos 8.572048; 'tonally sumptuous and emotionally expansive'. (Allmusic.com) Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, Hans Graf is the fifteenth and one of the longest serving music directors of the Houston Symphony. In this recording, Graf is joined by two highly acclaimed singers: American mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel and American tenor Gregory Kunde.
"Although Jane Henschel, a frequent performer of Wagner and Strauss, finds herself on familiar ground, it's Gregory Kunde - generally a bel canto tenor - who remains the standout. I'm not sure how much of Kunde's refined elegance would soar above the orchestra in a live performance, but this is the first Das Lied recording in a long time that made me wish Mahler wrote more for the tenor." -Gramophone
Gregory Kunde's high notes ring out, and with a fair range of tone colour... I found myself admiring him even more in the third song, where he phrases with more legato than is often the case. His account of the song is unusually relaxed and smilingly insouciant. The tempo seems just right too, as it also does in the fifth song, with the singer particularly attentive to those passages where birds are evoked, though with power enough on all those top As.
The real revelation... is Graf, whose reading of the score is very impressive indeed, becoming more insightful as the piece unfolds. He can't quite match Klemperer for sheer amplitude and nuance, but he does find an astonishing lucidity that works especially well in the trembling loveliness of 'Der Einsame im Herbst'.
Graf's musical values are entirely different... clarity is prized above all, not merely in the musical line but in each little diversion along the way... this is the first Das Lied recording in a long time that made me wish Mahler wrote more...
BBC Music Magazine
From the first, scything horn cry, it's evident that this is going to be a Song of the Earth of real orchestral distinction...their lean but incisive quality makes for some real chamber-musical moments with the wind and brass, many of which tenor Gregory Kunde sensitively shares...Kunde can manages the impossibly high tessitura and never forces his voice.
The Houston Symphony proves itself a highly competent band.
Recording information: Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Houston, T (11/19/2009-11/22/2009).
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Works DetailsMahler, Gustav : Das Lied von der Erde
- Performer: Gregory Kunde (Tenor)
- Conductor: Hans Graf
- Ensemble: Houston Symphony
- Notes: Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Houston, Texas, USA (11/19/2009-11/22/2009)
- Running Time: 61 min. 21 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Vocal
- Written: 1908-1909