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
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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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 - Audiophile Audition


12 July 2014
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
4 Stars

Listening to Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill is like sampling a fine Pinot Noir-earthy, very delicate yet full of complexity and richness that you sense will only deepen in the years to come. She is a born Mahlerian; her voice, while agile enough to take on music that is much more difficult in terms of simple presentation, has such resonance and intensity on a note-for-note basis that one can only imagine the composer himself gleaming at the thought of his songs being given by such a talent.

The songs are, well, the songs-we all know them and love them and have heard their story many times. Ruckert provided Mahler with many moving moments, especially in the masterly Kindertotenlieder. The Wayfarer songs represent Mahler's penchant for looking to the past for idylls or tales of life that somehow eluded him during the turn of the century, when such things were taking a far different and often ominous tone. Alma on the other hand, virtually brow-beaten and threatened as to the quality of her marriage if she did not give up composing, was more taken in the moment-whether the lovers she took in the wake of the death of her daughter Maria in 1907-which sounded the death of the Mahlerian marriage-or the fact of her music at that time actually being more forward-looking than his-he would catch up later-and these Five Liederare marvelous examples of a genuine talent and a view of art which would have contributed significantly to the current scene had it been allowed to flower.

The surround sound is superb, the singing radiant, if slightly not "there" yet in terms of interpretation (but Cargill will undoubtedly get there), and the Mahler versus Mahler side-by-side a wonderful programmatic initiative. A fine disc, and Simon Lepper's perceptive pianism doesn't hurt a bit.


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