Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

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WORKS: Das Lied von der Erde
PERFORMER: Christa Ludwig, René Kollo; Israel PO/Leonard Bernstein
CATALOGUE NO: SMK 47589 ADD (1974)
Sony chose more aptly than they realised by reproducing Prince Charles’s watercolour of Oman on the cover, for hardly anything blooms in Bernstein’s second recorded Song of the Earth. The Israel Philharmonic woodwind turn in rough, uncontemplative solos alongside Ludwig’s easily expressive ‘Farewell’ (she had better company in Klemperer’s Philharmonia and Karajan’s Berliners); strings meander and counterpoint unevenly, and the hard-baked recording lets only the last, most funereal of climaxes comes across with any degree of clarity; since this is Bernstein, though, that’s still quite something. David Nice