…IRR OUTSTANDING: “an absolutely astonishing recording in many respects,”and concludes by reminding readers that “This is a most important issue, and all Mahlerians should make its acquisition an urgent necessity… International Record Review
…Woods’s conducting is full of absorbing detail and gives Schoenberg’s reduction a gripping intensity and immediacy…the way in which singers, players and conductor connect with the music is remarkable and very moving. Highly recommended… Classical Source
…Woods has been making a considerable name for himself as a Mahler interpreter both in the UK and on the west coast of America, and listening to this new disc it is not hard to hear why. His handling of both works is extremely impressive, with a strong sense of atmosphere and control… Classical Recordings Quarterly
SOMM’s second new Mahler release in his anniversary year features a trio of superb singers with the excellent Orchestra of the Swan in live recordings. Kenneth Woods was appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of this orchestra in 2010 and is widely known for his affinity with the music of Mahler.
Recorded: 19 November 2010 in Townsend Hall, Shipston-on-Stour
Released: May 2011 with Somm Recordings (SOMMCD 0109)
Following its release of the Erwin Stein chamber version of Mahler’s 4th Symphony, (SOMMCD 245/Orchestra of the Swan, David Curtis) SOMM has come up trumps again in this important Mahler Anniversary year, with yet one more new CD release of chamber versions recorded recently with
Contralto Emma Curtis, Tenor Brennen Guillory and Baritone David Stout with the excellent Orchestra of the Swan in live recordings conducted by Kenneth Woods. These are Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen *(Arr. Schoenberg) and Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg/Riehn).
At the end of the Great War, Vienna was a defeated city and Mahler’s disciple, Arnold Schoenberg created a Society for Private Musical Performance to revive musical life. The society did not have sufficient funds, so ensemble transcriptions of orchestral works were often made. Schoenberg reduced Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer for a concert in 1920, restoring the intimacy of the original piano version, while preserving many colours found in its later orchestral score. He also began arranging The Song of the Earth for the society in 1921, but did not progress beyond the first song, The sketches lay untouched until 1983, when the conductor Rainer Riehn completed them. Because much of Mahler’s score has the delicacy of chamber music, surprisingly little is lost in these skilled arrangements. On the contrary, both works benefit from increased transparency, intimacy and emotional impact.