Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) - Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth),
arrangement for chamber orchestra (Arnold Schoenberg, Rainer Riehn)
Dagmar Pecková - mezzo-soprano, Richard Samek - tenor, Schoenberg Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Petr Altrichter
In contrast to Symphony No. 8, also known as the "Symphony of a Thousand", another of Gustav Mahler's vocal-instrumental pieces, Das Lied von der Erde, speaks in a highly intimate language, full of tenderness and deep sorrow, mirroring the very essence of the artist's soul towards the end of his days. The grief, reflecting the painful events in the composer's life and expressed in a variety of shades in all the six songs, seems to dissolve at the end of the work in the repeated, atoned "forever" , a word opening up the infinite space following the life on earth. The internationally renowned Czech mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková has always cherished Mahler's music, as evinced by the highly acclaimed recordings she has made with Jiří Bělohlávek, conducting the Prague Philharmonia. Her partners on the CD is the tenor Richard Samek, whose voice is known to audiences at Europe's prominent opera houses, and a chamber ensemble, instead of a large Romantic orchestra, for which Mahler scored the piece. In order to emphasise the work's intimacy, Pecková opted for Schoenberg's chamber arrangement of Das Lied von der Erde. The recording has made the soloist's dream come true, and thus added the final piece in the mosaic of her feted Mahler discography.
Das Lied von der Erde - the final piece in the mosaic of Dagmar Pecková's Mahler discography.
“There’s a bright immediacy to everything about this new version from Prague, conducted very capably by Petr Altrichter. Perhaps the focus of the recording is a bit too close at times, but it places the solo voices very much within the web of instrumental lines rather than superimposing them upon it … The recording seems to have been built around the mezzo Dagmar Pecková, who is certainly compelling, her rather insistent vibrato notwithstanding, though other soloists perhaps extract more pathos from the final pages.” The Guardian, March 2018
“The ingeniousness and effectiveness of the arrangement certainly come across in the playing of the Schoenberg Chamber Orchestra under the expert, swift direction of Petr Altrichter in this new recording.” Gramophone, May 2018
“I really like this recording in fact I played out such a long section of the instrumental music just then because you really hear the wonderful chamber playing and you also hear the excitement of that stretched sound if you know the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony that idea of one player per part and it’s got a certain energy about it.” BBC Radio 3 Record Review, July 2018
“I prefer Supraphon’s intimate atmosphere and superior tenor. Although her artistry still has much to offer, Pecková is very nearly a liability in places. Nevertheless she is good enough to recommend this vivid account of Schoenberg’s stripped-back take on Mahler.” Fanfare, August 2018