Karen Cargill - Mahler: Lieder - The Absolute Sound
At the time of their marriage, Gustav Mahler insisted that 22-year-old Alma Schindler swear off her promising efforts at composition. She agreed, and this pact most certainly contributed to the couple's subsequent marital difficulties. After Mahler learned that Alma was having an affair with Walter Gropius, then he encouraged her to compose and actually published her Fünf Lieder. Those songs are programmed on this Linn release and they are remarkably cogent and compelling settings of well-chosen texts. This is especially notable as they are being compared directly to one of her husband's great song cycles, his Rückert Lieder. These songs, plus Urlicht (from the Second Symphony), are 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.