This recording was made under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw in December 2019, two months before his death. A few weeks before that, he had called Thomas Dieltjens, artistic director of Het Collectief, to tell him: "Since our concert in mid-July 2019, `Das Lied von der Erde` has constantly been on my mind. I am totally fascinated by it and discover new things in it every day. It would be a dream if we could record this music with the exceptional cast of musicians and soloist singers of the Saintes festival, and preferably the sooner the better." Words failed, as can be gathered from the many concert reviews they received. Mahler`s `Das Lied von der Erde` is already so much more than just music, it encompasses life as a whole, from early birth till death. Reinbert de Leeuw made of this masterpiece an exceptionally refined arrangement for 15 instrumentalists and 2 soloists. How Reinbert manages to render the full force of Mahler`s original score in his arrangement is unparalleled. There is the addition of the harp, some percussion, a contrabassoon and a bass clarinet. With the harmonium as an essential link between cords, winds, percussion and piano. One lacks ears to feel the richness of Reinbert`s arrangement. This is pure musical delight.
Presto Classical September 2020
It’s hard to believe that only fifteen instruments are involved in the more dramatic passages, though the reduced forces also allow the lighter-than-usual voices of the two soloists (both excellent) to glow. The luminous Abschied is particularly poignant given that it now stands as De Leeuw’s own farewell recording. Katherine Cooper
Sunday Times 13th September 2020
This recording reveals a resourceful and sensitive instrumentation, exquisitely delivered by Het Collectief, that allows Richardot and Saelens the widest dynamic, tonal and emotional range.