Magazine article Gramophone

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder

Magazine article Gramophone

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder

Article excerpt

Mahler

Kindertotenlieder. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. Ruckert-Lieder Alice Coote mez Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra / Marc Albrecht

Pentatone (F) [SACD] PTC5186 576 (62' * DDD/DSD)

The breadth and variety of the catalogue for these three great Mahler song groups is such that any new recording has to offer something distinctive. Alice Coote, happily, is a singer who seems incapable of being anything else. Her mezzo is rich and multicoloured, imbued with an intrinsic intensity and emotional complexity. There's never any doubting her intelligence as an artist or the commitment she brings as an interpreter. In some ways, then, this disc presents the sort of performances one would expect: deeply personal, vocally idiosyncratic (the highly individual Brigitte Fassbaender sounds almost mainstream by comparison) and never less than profoundly heartfelt.

There are drawbacks to her approach, though, in some unevenness and unsteadiness of line, and the phrasing can be bumpy. The voice is in constant flux, too: one moment there's richness and grandeur--in the grand final phrase of 'Ich hab' ein gliihend Messer', for example--while the next the operatic veneer disappears to reveal a kind of breathy emotional nakedness beneath. …

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