Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin continue their exploration of Mahler with a new recording of Das Lied von der Erde, on which Dame Sarah Connolly and Robert Dean Smith provide the vocal contributions.
Residing somewhere between symphony and song cycle, Das Lied is one of Mahler`s most profound and loved works, marking an important step in the composer`s career, as well as in his private life. Jurowski approaches the piece as Mahler`s deliberate move from a "heroic" Beethovenian model towards a more "lyrical", Schubertian attitude. Throughout Das Lied, and particularly in the contemplative last movement, "Der Abschied (The Goodbye)", Mahler seems to come to terms with the mortality of man while celebrating the immortal nature of Life.
The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin has a vast PENTATONE discography. Together with their chief conductor and artistic director Vladimir Jurowski, they have recorded symphonic works from Mahler and Strauss (2017), violin concertos by Britten and Hindemith together with Arabella Steinbacher (2017), and Schnittke?s Third Symphony (2015). Robert Dean Smith featured on PENTATONE recordings of Tannhäuser (title role, 2013), Die Walküre (Siegmund, 2013), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Stolzing, 2011), and Der Fliegende Holländer (Erik, 2011). Dame Sarah Connolly makes her PENTATONE debut.
BBC Music Magazine November 2020
[Connolly] makes the perfect case for pulling the lustrous stops out at each death-transcending release in the ‘Farewell’; Mahler may mark the dynamics at a lower level, but the emotion is irresistible. Above all it’s her perfect fusion with the many vocal woodwind solos – every trill and turn strikingly vivid – that places Jurowski’s ‘Song of the Earth’ amongst the greatest.
Gramophone Magazine September 2020
This is a performance of such distinction that regardless of one’s personal view of the piece...it must be considered a prime contender for anyone’s library...I cannot stress enough how effectively Jurowski conveys the ethereal ‘natural world’ beauty of the score...I cannot imagine a more revealing exposition of Mahler’s instrumental colorations. Everything stands in such sharp relief.
Connolly’s first two phrases in ‘Der Einsame im Herbst’ will engender confidence in any listener. The singing is perfectly poised and the sound of her voice per se is a source of great pleasure. Furthermore, Jurowski ensures that the orchestral accompaniment is ideally pointed.
The Guardian 13th August 2020 ****
There’s certainly nothing heroic or elegiac about this performance, no heart-on-sleeve in mezzo Sarah Connolly’s account of that great finale, in which Jurowski shapes the instrumental commentary with meticulous accuracy, while the intrusions of the everyday world in the joyous outbursts of the earlier movements take on a deliberately abrasive quality.