Blair Sanderson

Il CD della Brilliant è uscito il 27 gennaio del 2017

Review by Blair Sanderson

Even though Alma Mahler had written music since childhood, and only stopped composing after she married Gustav Mahler (at his insistence, though he later relented), 14 of her songs were published in her lifetime: Fünf Lieder in 1910, Vier Lieder in 1915, and Fünf Gesänge in 1924. Her music reflected the rich chromatic harmonies and wide-ranging modulations of late Romanticism, and her songs were intensely lyrical settings of poetry by such favored poets as Heinrich HeineRichard DehmelNovalisFranz Werfel, and others. This 2017 release on Brilliant Classics by soprano Catharina Kroeger and pianist Monica Lonero is an agreeable recital of Alma Mahler‘s complete published songs, rounded off with a performance of Patrizia Montanaro‘s Canto di Penelope. This modern work, composed for Kroeger, is a melologue on a text by Rosaria Lo Russo, recounting the Homeric story of Penelope; at over 20 minutes duration, this quasi-operatic scena almost overwhelms the Mahler songs in its complexity, drama, and expressive demands on the performers. Yet this album’s success depends much more on Mahler‘s music, and listeners may choose to return to her songs for repeated hearings, which they clearly deserve. Brilliant’s recording is warm and close-up, so Kroeger and Lonero have great presence and clarity.