On March 16th 2018, Supraphon will release an album of Mahler's Das
Lied von der Erde with Dagmar Pecková, Richard Samek
and Schoenberg Chamber Orchestra conducted by Petr
Since the beginnings of her international career, mezzosoprano Dagmar
Pecková has had a close connection to the work of Gustav Mahler. This is, among
her other projects, documented by the highly appraised recordings with Jiří
Bělohlávek and his Prague Philharmonia made under the Supraphon label in the
late 1990s. To enhance the intimate character of the Song of the Earth, Pecková
decided to use Schoenberg’s chamber arrangement. By creating this recording
she has fulfilled her dream and also put the last gem into the mosaic of her
In a short interview, Pecková ponders over her journey as a singer towards
this unique work and talks about the motives that led her to initiate the new
recording that she made in Prague in collaboration with tenor Richard Samek and
Schoenberg Chamber Orchestra under the leadership of Petr Altrichter. You will
also learn between the lines why she chose the painting The Souls of Dead
Mothers by Dominik Mareš to be featured on the booklet.
Dagmar, what made you record the Song of the Earth?
I first performed the Song of the Earth, a work filled with sadness and
reconciled departure from this world, when my mother was dying. I think it was
only due to my emotional state at the time that I was able to grasp the
thoughts hidden underneath the lyrics. For the first time in my life
I experienced the feeling of having become a medium between the composer and
the listeners. And this soulful work certainly helped me better understand the
demise of the person so close to my heart into the “distances that are blue
and bright… forever… forever”.
Subsequently I flew out into the world with the Song of the Earth – I sang
it in Paris under the baton of Charles Dutoit or with the Cleveland orchestra
under the leadership von Christoph von Dohnányi. For fifteen years without a
break I was sharing the eternal sorrow contained in this work with audiences
all over the world.
I know there are outstanding recordings such as the one sung by Christa Ludwig
and conducted by Herbert von Karajan, but this did not discourage me from my
intention to try and leave an imprint of my soul on the interpretation of this
work, thus fulfilling and old dream of mine.
What do you appreciate in Schoenberg’s chamber
I first became acquainted with Schoenberg’s version on the stage of
London’s Wigmore Hall. I feel it gives the singer space for chamber vocal
expression. I can sing even the quietest passages in a way to express what
I feel without jeopardising audibility or singing under any kind of pressure.
Although it has to be said that the chamber version is played by top
soloists – it would be wrong to assume that the less musicians there are, the
weaker the sound. This is not true at all.