Related Reviews
New Criterion
'Cargill sang them [Alma Mahler's Funf Lieder] sensibly and beautifully.'
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New York Times
'[Karen] possesses startling power and a creamy middle range...'
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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.'
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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.'
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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.'
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Herald Scotland
Pick of 2014: '...Karen Cargill released a breathtaking album of songs by Gustav and Alma Mahler...'
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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.'
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Luister
5 Stars
Luister 10: 'Adembenemend.' / 'Breathtaking.'
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Fanfare
'Karen Cargill has one of the creamiest mezzo voices I've heard in a long time...'
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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...'
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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.''
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Opera Magazine NL
'In de Rückert-Lieder laten beide kunstenaars mij naar adem happen, zo geweldig vind ik hun uitvoering.'
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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...'
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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.'
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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.'
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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.'
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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.'
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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.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'Karen Cargill, warm, instinctive and golden-voiced, and Simon Lepper are responsive partners...'
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'The surround sound is superb, the singing radiant, and the Mahler versus Mahler side-by-side a wonderful programmatic initiative.'
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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...'
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The Scotsman
4 Stars
'...rich and radiant performances by Scots mezzo soprano Karen Cargill and pianist Simon Lepper.'
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The Times
'It's expressive, bold music and Cargill sings it eloquently...'
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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.'
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All Music
4½ Stars
'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… A superb job from a singer who is getting her due.'
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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 - Gramophone


01 July 2014
Gramophone
Richard Fairman

Glasgow-based Linn Records continues to do well by its Scottish artists. As anybody who has heard Karen Cargill in 19th-century opera (Waltraute in Götterdämmerung a speciality) knows, this is a bronze-tinted mezzo of Wagnerian amplitude. Occasionally, her new disc reveals a small loss of quality when she is singing quietly; but for the most part this Mahler-family recital, like her previous outing for Linn - a recording of Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (6:13) - finds Cargill expressive at every level, while still proudly displaying the full glory of her voice.

It is good to see Alma Mahler's songs getting equal billing alongside those of her husband. The Fünf Lieder, published in 1910, include some of her most accomplished songs and Cargill's richly coloured singing is well attuned to their cusp-of-the-Romantic era atmosphere. The second song, 'In meines Vaters Garten', matches a poem of fairy-tale simplicity to music saturated with post-Tristan rapture, and Cargill and her accompanist, Simon Lepper, do not hold back on its luxurious radiance. The Rückert-Lieder start out a touch heavy-handedly ('Blicke mir' too rushed), but soon settle upon the requisite sensitivity. The closing stanza of 'Ich bin der Welt', floated on the softest pp, is especially lovely. The Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen encompass a wide range of emotion and Cargill tears into the fury of 'Ich hab' ein glühend Messer' (a recording with orchestra surely beckons).

Among recommendations for the Alma Mahler songs, Cargill is as inspiring as anybody.


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