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Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn / Wolfgang Holzmair, baritone; Charles Spencer, piano

Notes & Reviews:

Wolfgang Holzmair is one of the great word-painters of our time and one of the foremost interpreters of Mahler's songs. This new recording from Onyx of songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn was made to mark the artist's 60th birthday. Holzmair's interpretation of this music draws upon many years of experience and brings a deep insight to these wonderful songs. The piano-writing is remarkable for its almost orchestral complexity and imitation of orchestral effects and indeed, Mahler would eventually score twelve of the songs for orchestra. The poems' appeal to Mahler is easy to understand - nature, yearning, love, farewells, night and death all combined with the fertile imagination of the composer to produce some of the greatest songs written by any composer.

The Independent
Never mannered or vulgar, he wields a clean, sweet, high-lying baritone which is delicately responsive to the nuances of phrase and color.

The Washington Post
I have heard Holzmair many times over the last decade. If anything, his voice has gained even more in its intensity and sense of compelling magnitude.

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012
This is a unique sequence, showing that most of the earliest settings which sit alongside the more familiar numbers, usually linked by theme, are just as finely-wrought and no less typical of Mahler's most haunting preoccupations.

Gramophone Magazine, December 2012
His word-painting is superb, replacing sheer vocal firepower wityh more Lieder-friendly qualities of agility , precision and nuance. Poetic narrative is everywhere apparent...Holzmair seems to make the case for Mahler inheriting the Lieder mantle from Schumann...for nearly 80 minutes you can listen to Mahler's melodies and barely recall that they exist in an orchestral version.

MusicWeb International, 24th February 2014
There's no sense in beating about the bush: this is an outstanding Mahler recital and one, moreover, in which the quality and perception of the piano playing gives as much pleasure as the excellent singing...With vivid, totally secure singing and marvellously attuned piano playing this is a deeply satisfying recital.


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