Related Reviews
New Criterion
'Cargill sang them [Alma Mahler's Funf Lieder] sensibly and beautifully.'
more >>
New York Times
'[Karen] possesses startling power and a creamy middle range...'
more >>
The Washington Post
'Alma's "In Meines Vaters Garten" brought out Cargill's luscious, full-bodied chest voice and her fluid sense of rubato, ably assisted by pianist Simon Lepper.'
more >>
The Absolute Sound
'...beautifully rendered by mezzo-soprano Cargill and captured by engineer Philip Hobbs with immediacy and a bit of an edge when the vocalist cranks it up.'
more >>
Herald Scotland
Pick of 2014: '...Karen Cargill released a breathtaking album of songs by Gustav and Alma Mahler...'
more >>
Herald Scotland
Top 50 Scottish Albums of 2014: #7 'Scotland's opera superstar mines incredible depth of emotion from these songs, as her mezzo-soprano range is sensitively matched by Simon Lepper's piano accompaniment.'
more >>
Fanfare
'The rising Scottish mezzo possesses a big, beautiful voice, which has the earned almost unanimous praise...Cargill's most heartfelt rendition is of Urlicht...'
more >>
Luister
5 Stars
Luister 10: 'Adembenemend.' / 'Breathtaking.'
more >>
Opera News
'Splendid... Her liquid and often sensuous instrument retains a fine sheen throughout the program. There exist many admirable recorded versions of these two cycles; Cargill's have the virtue - rare at this point in recording history - of sounding unlike anybody else's.'
more >>
Fanfare
'Karen Cargill has one of the creamiest mezzo voices I've heard in a long time...'
more >>
Fono Forum
,,Für die erste Gruppe von fünf Gesängen setzt sich die schottische Mezzosopranistin Karen Cargill ein, mit textlicher Akkuratesse und erfülltem Ausdruck. Als sensibler Begleiter fungiert Simon Lepper.''
more >>
Opera Magazine NL
'In de Rückert-Lieder laten beide kunstenaars mij naar adem happen, zo geweldig vind ik hun uitvoering.'
more >>
Classical Ear
4 Stars
'In absorbing all the fin de siècle passions of the poets she set Alma displayed a fine gift for lyric line and richly romantic accompaniment which Karen Cargill and Simon Lepper readily seize upon in their penetrating performances...'
more >>
MusicWeb International
'Karen Cargill is an excellent advocate for Alma's songs. Her voice has youthful freshness and her affection for the songs is obvious.'
more >>
International Record Review
'Karen Cargill's voice was made for Gustav's music, and we can now determine that it suits Alma's equally well.'
more >>
Gramophone (High Fidelity)
'This recital of Lieder by Mr & Mrs Mahler sung by Karen Cargill on Linn is a spine-tingling combination of performance and recording quality.'
more >>
Pizzicato
'Der Pianist Simon Lepper ist dagegen fantastisch. Sein Klavierspiel ist enorm feinfühlig und er geht das Wagnis ein, surreale Klänge und impressionistische Farben miteinzubringen, was insbesondere den Liedern von Alma Mahler gut tut.'
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
'And Karen Cargill's beautifully integrated, smoky mezzo reveals the full stature of these songs [by Alma], just as Simon Lepper relishes their fearless piano writing.'
more >>
The Observer
4 Stars
'Karen Cargill, warm, instinctive and golden-voiced, and Simon Lepper are responsive partners...'
more >>
Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'The surround sound is superb, the singing radiant, and the Mahler versus Mahler side-by-side a wonderful programmatic initiative.'
more >>
Gramophone
'...luxurious radiance...Cargill expressive at every level, while still proudly displaying the full glory of her voice.'
more >>
The Scotsman
4 Stars
'...rich and radiant performances by Scots mezzo soprano Karen Cargill and pianist Simon Lepper.'
more >>
The Herald Scotland
'Cargill is in sumptuous form, at the top of her game, and never more ravishingly voiced than in these glorious, heart-melting performances...'
more >>
The Times
'It's expressive, bold music and Cargill sings it eloquently...'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
'… mezzo Karen Cargill has just the emotional range these songs need, it’s a big voice, and pianist Simon Lepper underlines their passion. I like that they open the recital with Alma Mahler’s Five songs and such flirtatious freshness before the more familiar Gustav Mahler settings.'
more >>
SA-CD.net
4½ Stars
'Cargill performs them with great sensitivity and communicates a keen understanding of the texts. She is accompanied beautifully by Simon Lepper whose imaginative playing is ideally matched with Cargill's fine singing.'
more >>

Karen Cargill - Mahler: Lieder - All Music


20 June 2014
All Music
James Manheim
4½ Stars

Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill has recorded large-scale vocal-orchestral music in the past; she participated in a fine LSO Live recording of Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ under the late Colin Davis. So nothing quite prepares the listener for how good this recording is. One might be drawn to it for the recordings of the rare lieder of Alma Mahler, or actually Alma Schindler, for she composed them before her marriage to Mahler in 1902 and his decision to forbid her to compose. They were published in 1910 after Alma began an affair with Walter Gropius and Gustav was keen to appease her. The five songs are modest in scale but deserve to be heard more often, and they resemble Gustav Mahler's lieder less than the early work of Webern. Cargill's performance is of just the dimension that would have been required for a Viennese song evening, and her enthusiasm for the material is palpable. The Gustav Mahlersongs include the Rückert Lieder of 1901-1902, the four Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen of the 1880s, and the "Urlicht" movement from the giant Symphony No. 2 in C minor ("Resurrection"). "Urlicht" is a song from the Des Knaben Wunderhorn collection, and many of these songs have a sort of mystically expanded folkish element and found their way into Mahler's symphonies. Cargill is extraordinary in her control over the scope of these songs, sustaining them over their heavenly length while not breaking them out of their chamber dimensions. Sample the Rückert song Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (track 10, "I have come loose from the world") for something that's both as close as one can come to an introduction in just six minutes to the essential Mahler and very beautiful in itself. A superb job from a singer who is getting her due.    
Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Karen CargillKaren Cargill
Simon LepperSimon Lepper
Alma & Gustav Mahler LiederAlma & Gustav Mahler Lieder