Mahler: Das Klagende Lied; Janácek: The Fiddler’s Child


BBC Singers, Chorus & Symphony Orchestra/ Gennady Rozhdestvensky ICA Classics ICAC 5080 ****

The 20-year-old Mahler’s fairy tale cantata, Das klagende Lied, was written in 1880, rejected for performance by Liszt in 1883, and finally premiered under the composer in 1901 in a version shorn of the nearly 30- minute- long first movement. Nowdays the original version, astonishingly accomplished in orchestral terms, and equally astonishingly fertile as a well from which Mahler would draw future inspiration, is preferred over the shortened version. It’s still a rarity in the concert hall, and this performance, recorded at the BBC Proms in 1981, when Gennady Rozhdestvensky was the BBCSO’s principal conductor, is atmospheric and fresh-sounding, and boasts a strong team of soloists: Teresa Cahill, Janet Baker, Robert Tear and Gwynne Howell. The fill-up by Janácek is not on quite the same level.