Mahler: Das Klagende Lied; Berg: Lulu Suite – review

Prohaska/Röschmann/Larsson/Botha/Vienna Staatsoper Chorus/Vienna PO/Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Pierre Boulez recorded both these works during his years with CBS. His earlier version of Das Klagende Lied had a curious history: in 1970, he recorded the 1899 two-movement revision of the cantata, and then with a different trio of soloists subsequently added the first part of the work that Mahler had omitted from his revision. Here, in the concert that opened the 2011 Salzburg festival, Boulez reverts to Mahler's later, shorter score, but still shows that its brightly lit orchestral effects have always brought the best out of his conducting; the performance has both spaciousness and finely focused detail, with first-rate solo contributions from soprano Dorothea Röschmann and contralto Anna Larsson. The Lulu Suite is even more remarkable, for there's an emotional breadth to Boulez's approach now that just wasn't there in his earlier, pioneering performances. His balance between rigour and expressiveness exactly mirrors Berg's music; Anna Prohaska is the soloist, just a bit too robust for my taste, but the Vienna Philharmonic is on its most attentive form.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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