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Thread: Mahler 4 Singer Variation

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Default Mahler 4 Singer Variation

    It seems the standard if for a soprano to sing in the fourth movement of Mahler's fourth symphony. However, I see there are recordings with a mezzo: Frederica von Stade.

    Are there any other mezzo's on recording for Mahler 4?

    How about alto or contralto (or are those two the same)?

    It can be transposed down perhaps.

    How about sopranos who have a deeper, richer voice that sound more mezzo on this work?
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    FvS had such a vocal range that she could record both the Symphony 4 and the Songs of a Wayfarer. I think that any singer that can play Mélisande is able to do it.. Notably, Magdalena Kožená sang both Mélisande and the Song of the Earth for Simon Rattle. Whether I like their results or not is another story.

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    An alto in the finale would spoil the childlike innocence that the text requires. There are even some sopranos who sound too heavy, most notably Renée Fleming in Abbado's second recording. Even though she sings beautifully and scales back her voice, the timbre is just ill-fitting.

    My favourites are Miah Persson for Ivan Fischer, Barbara Bonney for Chailly, Kathleen Battle for Maazel, and Elly Ameling for Haitink.
    Last edited by betterthanfine; Nov-16-2018 at 22:41.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    What about Christine Shafer with Abbado?

    EDIT: meant Christine Shafer with Haitink, not Abbado.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Nov-17-2018 at 02:49.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    What about Christine Shafer with Abbado?
    I know only her recording with Haitink, which is very good.

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    I've always liked Judith Raskin on George Szell's classic Cleveland Orchestra recording. Her pure, almost vibrato-less sound seems just right for the music, and her style is very simple and direct without a hint of artifice.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by betterthanfine View Post
    I know only her recording with Haitink, which is very good.
    My mistake, I meant the Haitink set with her. So you answered my question. Thanks.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Mahler’s lyrics in the 4th:
    http://msomn.org/wp-content/uploads/...ranslation.pdf

    The words suggest angelic childlike innocence and a lighter voice. Judith Raskin with Szell is tremendous.

    The Heavenly Life
    (from Des Knaben Wunderhorn)

    We enjoy heavenly pleasures
    and therefore avoid earthly ones.
    No worldly tumult
    is to be heard in heaven.
    All live in greatest peace.
    We lead angelic lives,
    yet have a merry time of it besides.
    We dance and we spring,
    We skip and we sing.
    Saint Peter in heaven looks on.
    ...
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-18-2018 at 20:33.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    ...although a boy soprano doesn't really work (e.g. Bernstein)

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Mahler’s lyrics in the 4th:
    http://msomn.org/wp-content/uploads/...ranslation.pdf

    The words suggest angelic childlike innocence and a lighter voice. Judith Raskin with Szell is tremendous.

    The Heavenly Life
    (from Des Knaben Wunderhorn)

    We enjoy heavenly pleasures
    and therefore avoid earthly ones.
    No worldly tumult
    is to be heard in heaven.
    All live in greatest peace.
    We lead angelic lives,
    yet have a merry time of it besides.
    We dance and we spring,
    We skip and we sing.
    Saint Peter in heaven looks on.
    ...
    I have the Szell set ordered.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Opinions on this one?
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    Opinions on this one?
    I found the performance mesmerizing. Lovely lovely soprano. I read the translation of the words as she sang. For me, it adds an extra dimension of understanding... I love that Mahler preserved his sense of childhood innocence into his adult life... I love the 4th and I feel it's very straightforward and accessible for most listeners... I just wish there were times when appropriate in his Mahler performances that Zinman would get a little more excited and not take what sounds to me like a very consistently smooth, even approach. I like a little more constrast. Mahler has his peaks and valley... Nevertheless, I thought this was a lovely performance and one that I got lost in. I felt that her voice was fine for her role.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-27-2018 at 08:48.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    I found the performance mesmerising. Lovely lovely soprano.
    She gets mixed reviews on this, but is one of my favorite sopranos, noteworthy to me in the NAXOS La Sonnambula recording.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I have Zinman's cycle but rarely play it. I should do as its a good set but, for me, he doesn't hit the emotional peaks and troughs of some of Mahler's symphonies. However, this 4th is one of the best of the set and the soprano, Luba Orgonásová, holds it back enough to be enjoyable in the finale. I prefer Battle with Maazel (especially), Blegen with Levine and Sunhae Im with Honeck.
    Last edited by Merl; Nov-27-2018 at 14:27.

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