Based solely on the excellence of Christian Gerhaher's singing and his highly expressive interpretations of Gustav Mahler's lieder, this album is required listening for all fans of the singer and the composer. But this 2013 Sony release is also essential for Mahler scholars and collectors because it presents the original orchestrations of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder, and Rückert-Lieder, which receive their first recordings here. Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal accompany Gerhaher with subtlety and warmth, and the playing is as smooth and rich as Gerhaher's baritone voice, which makes the melodies inviting and moving. The performances on this CD were recorded on two concert dates early in 2012, so the best takes were used, notwithstanding coughs and other audience noises that can be heard occasionally. Even so, the sound is slightly variable in the mixing, so close listening reveals differences that could be due to studio enhancement. However, because the musicianship is so high, and Gerhaher's delivery is so appealing, this recording is definitely worth having, even with its few imperfections.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen|