Association for Private Musical Performances
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Mahler: Kindertotenlieder - Berg: Violin Concerto - 5 Altenberglieder
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Mahler : Kindertotenlieder (arr. A. Schönberg & R. Riehn) - Berg : C-to pour violon (v. de Schönberg, arr. A. N. Tarkmann - Altenberg Lieder (v. de Schönberg, arr. Diderik Wagenaar) / Marion Eckstein, m. soprano - Winfried Rademacher, violon - Linos Ens.
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The five songs are sung by the German mezzo Marion Eckstein and supported by the Linos ensemble, a small orchestral ensemble founded in 1977 by oboist Klaus Becker. Eckstein has a dark velvety tone, ideally suited to this music. She seems to have real affinity for this work and offers a captivating performance.
Death and tragedy also form a backdrop for the second work on the disc: the Berg Violin Concerto. Written as a memorial to the death of Manon Gropius, Alma Mahler's daughter who died in April 1935, in the event this also became Berg's own requiem. Structured in two parts, the second section incorporates Bach's death chorale. The soloist Winifried Rademacher plays with ravishing tone and has a real understanding of the structure of the piece. The concerto is well-paced, with excellent dynamic control. This is a performance of exquisite refinement and stands up there with the best.
Berg's Altenberg Lieder were composed 1911-12. Their subject is the stormy but beauty of the soul together with love and longing. Once again Eckstein gives a heartfelt performance.
This work was scored by Berg for a very large orchestra. Here, together with the other two works on the CD, we hear them in arrangements made by Schonberg and his collaborators, scaled down for a small ensemble for the Association of Private Musical Performances. This is very effective, allowing the complex instrumental textures to emerge with clarity and definition. The Linos Ensemble do a sterling job and play these works with great commitment.
Recorded in 1909, the acoustic of the Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Koln is very sympathetic. Liner notes are in German and English. I would warmly recommend this release.