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 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.'
more >>
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.'
more >>
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.'
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.'
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Karen Cargill - Mahler: Lieder - The Washington Post (Live Review)


08 April 2015
The Washington Post
Charles T. Downey

If you've never heard the name Karen Cargill, let this review be your notification.

The Scottish mezzo-soprano had a grand and long-overdue Washington debut recital Tuesday evening, presented in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater by Vocal Arts D.C. The program of brooding Romantic music by Gustav and Alma Mahler, Richard Wagner and Edvard Grieg hit her commanding and disciplined voice in its sweet spot.

Asked in an interview last year why she's singing so much Mahler, Cargill responded, "Well, it's where my voice is at." This was true on her recording of Gustav's five "Rückert Lieder" and Alma's "Fünf Lieder," released last year by Linn Records, and it was true live. 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. Cargill, whose top could be vibrato heavy at full volume, applied a light, pure tone in that range on the song's tender refrain ("Sweet dream!"), equally sensuous in Gustav's "Ich atmet' einen linden Duft" or bleak in his "Um Mitternacht."

Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder" also elicited the powerful side of Cargill's voice, in "Stehe still!" and "Schmerzen," but the more controlled, dulcet tone was even more striking, especially in the gloom-darkened rendition of "Im Treibhaus" and "Träume," with their overtones of "Tristan und Isolde."

Finally, in Grieg's six German songs, Op. 48, Cargill let down her hair, with airy and flirtatious readings of "Gruß" and "Lauf der Welt" and a sexy voluptuousness in "The secretive nightingale." Cargill charmed further with an encore from "Songs of the Hebrides" - "I had to bring a bit of Scotland with me," Cargill quipped - followed by "When You're Feeling Like Expressing Your Affection," a jingle composed by Benjamin Britten for British Telephone.

 


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