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Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn / Boulez, Kozena, Gerhaher [DVD]

Album Summary

>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 10 in F sharp minor/major
>Mahler, Gustav : Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Boulez's Mahler has surely gained a degree of intensity over the years. Rather than sacrificing his legendary intellectual rigor, he has wedded it to a profound visceral understanding of this music" (WCLV classical FM). In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth and just one month short of his own 85th birthday, composer-conductor Pierre Boulez marked his 45 year collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra by directing this very special Mahler-only concert at Ohio's splendid Severance Hall. Following the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony, he presented Twelve Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with soloists Magdelena Koená and Christian Gerhaher, both much-sought-after singers on the world's leading stages. Bonus Material: Interview with Pierre Boulez.

"The Cleveland Orchestra’s elegant subtlety almost passes belief in the adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony...But the voices inevitably take pride of place, with the baritone Christian Gerhaher superbly characterised, clear as a bell, and the mezzo Magdalena Kozená distinctive if slightly muffled. It’s a wonderful disc, regardless." -The Times

"The Cleveland Orchestra's playing (in a concert at its home at Severance Hall last February) is fabulously precise and refined, while Magdalena Koená (despite the occasional uncertain intonation) and Christian Gerhaher lavish immense care on colouring and inflecting every phrase." -The Guardian

"Boulez the arch-modernist unsurprisingly emphasises the grinding dissonances in Mahler’s only completed movement from his Tenth Symphony. But in the song cycle “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” he belies his reputation for clinical coolness with a lovely lyricism." -The Daily Telegraph

"The musical future is thrillingly present in this searing live performance...Gerhaher and Boulez together explore and recreate that fragile warmth of nostalgia. The lithe, toned muscle of both orchestra and voice, everywhere meticulously balanced, maximises each expressive nuance." -BBC Music Magazine

I would be fascinated to hear from any reader who learns the symphony from this version then switches to the more concise 1890 alternative. How would it seem that way round? From this end the longer version suggests necessary trimming, but that may well be because I know and love the shorter score already. Try it and let me know.

The beautiful interior of Severance Hall, with its Art Deco accents, makes a very pleasant backdrop indeed. In contrast to the CD, the program starts with the Adagio from the 10th Symphony. The performance, a very good one, is greatly improved in its surround-sound version, especially on Blu-ray... Magdalena Koená can hold her own with the best of the competition. Christian Gerhaher is a fine baritone... Koená... facial expressions bring character to her songs.

Audiophile Audition
As for the video, finally a classical Blu-ray that makes the bump to 1080p, and it too looks phenomenal. This might not matter so much in any other venue, but the newly-restored Severance Hall is shown to us in exceptional clarity and detail, and it proves one completely gorgeous visual experience. The orchestra shots are pertinent and non-obtrusive, always enhancing what you are hearing, which it not always the case in concert videos. Boulez is no acrobat of course, and maintains a clear and concise "Reiner"-like beat, his cool-ish persona coming across easily, but working very well in this music.

I will be returning to this concert a lot, and I am sure you will too. Definitely a case where the video ups the ante over the audio version - with 1080p def and DTS lossless surround res. The short bonus interview is very interesting, not mandatory.

El Nuevo Herald
No overeat or indigestion, two valuable complement the generous offer DVD Mahler and in each there are names familiar to the audience fortunately Miami.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 88 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: German, English, French


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Works Details

>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 10 in F sharp minor/major :: Adagio
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Ensemble: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1910

>Mahler, Gustav : Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  • Performers: Christian Gerhaher (Baritone); Magdalena Kozena (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Ensemble: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 01/28/1892