Bo Skovhus / Stefan Vladar

Mahler: Lieder

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For this engaging recital of songs by Gustav Mahler, baritone Bo Skovhus has drawn on the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn and rounded out his program with the Rückert Lieder and the closing movement of Das Lied von der Erde. These late Romantic songs are well-suited to Skovhus' rich voice and expressive delivery, and the accompaniment by Stefan Vladar is evenly matched in pacing and expression. The only problem is the imbalance between the 14 reasonably short and stylistically diverse songs that form the first part of the CD, and the closing track, which is timed at 29:00 and comes at the point when tiring listeners may be disinclined to sit through a piece of that duration and symphonic scope. Skovhus obviously loves "Der Abschied," and considered it to be a meaningful way to close this disc, but it asks a lot of his audience and probably will go unheard in some instances, or be postponed for another sitting. Preiser Records' reproduction gives Skovhus a close-up presence that adds to the intimacy, and Vladar is given sufficiently close miking to keep the piano at the proper distance behind the singer.

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