Related Reviews
New Criterion
'Cargill sang them [Alma Mahler's Funf Lieder] sensibly and beautifully.'
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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
Pick of 2014: '...Karen Cargill released a breathtaking album of songs by Gustav and Alma Mahler...'
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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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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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Fanfare
'Karen Cargill has one of the creamiest mezzo voices I've heard in a long time...'
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Luister
5 Stars
Luister 10: 'Adembenemend.' / 'Breathtaking.'
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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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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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Gramophone
'...luxurious radiance...Cargill expressive at every level, while still proudly displaying the full glory of her voice.'
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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.'
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Karen Cargill - Mahler: Lieder - New York Times (Live Review)


13 April 2015
New York Times
David Allen

Two concerts, two British mezzo-sopranos, two rising British accompanists - and two performances of Mahler's "Rückert Lieder."

How many musical coincidences can there be in three days in New York?

Mahler aside, these recitals were quite unalike, not least for two very different voices. Karen Cargill has already drawn praise for Wagnerian roles at the Metropolitan Opera, but her satisfying performance with Simon Lepper at Weill Recital Hall on Friday was billed as her New York debut in songs. Sarah Connolly, whose superlative matinee on Sunday at Alice Tully Hall had Joseph Middleton at the Steinway, is at the peak of her career.

Mahler's five "Rückert Lieder" date from 1901-02. Written on either side of that composer's turbulent courtship of Alma Schindler, they are barely a set at all, and require a wide, even range and a profound emotional sensitivity. For British mezzos especially, the lineage of prior interpreters is daunting, stretching back beyond Janet Baker to Kathleen Ferrier.

...

Ms. Cargill, of course, is just starting out. She possesses startling power and a creamy middle range, if a little uncertain down low. To show off her punch, she lingered over Mahler's long lines rather than the intricacies of Rückert's poetry. That suited the perfumed ethereality of "Ich atmet' einen linden Duft" and her forlorn view of "Um Mitternacht" and "Ich bin der Welt," but her diction might have been more nimble in "Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder."

What to program with Mahler's most intimate songs? Ms. Cargill and the astute Mr. Lepper went for the ingenious theme of composers and their lovers. Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder" and Grieg's Opus 48 songs, which were written for the composer's wife, Nina, were eloquently done. Most interesting were five student lieder by Alma soon-to-be-Mahler, who was taught by (and infatuated with) Alexander Zemlinsky. Alma clearly had talent despite Gustav's insistence in December 1901 that she cease composing, as Ms. Cargill showed in the Straussian "In meines Vaters Garten" and the aching "Laue Sommernacht." Ms. Cargill dedicated one of two encores - Marjory Kennedy-Fraser's "An Eriskay Love Lilt," from "The Songs of the Hebrides" - to the contralto Maria Radner, who died on Germanwings Flight 9525.


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