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Mahler with complete assurance in his recording of Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). You may well wonder where the second singer is, as Mahler wrote the songs for a tenor and alto (often a mezzo), or tenor and baritone if necessary, and the two voices alternate between the six songs. In fact, Kaufman has taken the brave decision to record the piece alone and sing the work complete. Perhaps it’s not such a surprise as his tenor is commonly described as baritonal – ‘burnished’ is the word often used; and so it proves here, as he has no trouble with the lower-lying songs. He doesn’t artificially darken or inflate the tone to cope with the tessitura, so the performance flows naturally through what Mahler described as a ‘Symphony’, written when he was at his lowest ebb near the end of his life. Kaufmann certainly has the tenorial reserves to sail through the high-lying outbursts over thick orchestration as well as colouring his voice differently for each song; brash for the opening ‘Trinklied’ (Drinking Song) and pared down for the introspection of the final ‘Der Abschied’ (‘The Farewell’). His diction is excellent, not always a given, even when singers perform in their native tongue. Jonathan Nott’s conducting is controlled and precise, with a wonderful delicacy in the more restrained pages of the score.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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