Christian Gerhaher - the world’s pre-eminent exponent of Austro-German lieder - turns to an intimate piano-accompanied version of Gustav Mahler’s song-cycle Das Lied von der Erde for his latest release on Sony Classical. Pianist Gerold Huber joins the baritone and tenor Piotr Beczala for this stripped-back traversal of Mahler’s snapshots of life and existence.
Mahler wrote the six songs of Das Lied von der Erde in 1908 following the death of his eldest daughter, his racially aggravated enforced resignation from the Vienna State Opera and the revelation that he himself faced impending death.
After the opulence of a symphony orchestra - with which Gerhaher recorded Das Lied von der Erde for Sony Classical in 2009 - Mahler’s piano version offers a sharper focus akin to an X-Ray of the images the composer presents. It is perfect for Gerhaher’s trademark intimacy of sound and impeccable interpretative detail.