The Society for Private Musical Performances was founded in Vienna in 1918 by Arnold Schoenberg and a handful of like-minded musicians in order to play and study the new music of the time in practical chamber arrangements. Schoenberg's unfinished 1920 reduction of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde was intended for the Society, but it wasn't heard in full until 1983 when a performing version was prepared by Rainer Riehn. Its lean instrumentation is a bit startling to ears that are accustomed to the lushness of the full orchestral score, though it is fairly easy to adjust to, because so much of Mahler's writing favored small groups, and it translates quite readily to chamber dimensions. Thanks to the exceptionally clear, unprocessed sound of this audiophile recording from MDG, the Detmolder Kammerorchester, under the direction of Alfredo Perl, is almost ideally balanced in volume and textures, and the performances of mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger and tenor Stephan Rügamer have great intimacy and presence in the small concert space. Listeners who know Das Lied von der Erde well will find this recording well-suited for study, though newcomers should hear Mahler's original before approaching this transcription.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Das Lied von der Erde|