Complete Wunderhorn Songs
Gustav Mahler

Complete Wunderhorn Songs

Dietrich Henschel / Boris Berezovsky

Label: Evil Penguin
Format: CD
Barcode: 5425008373126
Catalog number: EPRC 0013
Releasedate: 12-04-13
The 24 songs to folk poems from the Wunderhorn anthology composed by Gustav Mahler and masterfully interpreted through the strong voice of Dietrich Henschel and a piano virtue of Boris Berezovsky.

The concert event Wunderhorn – which will be premiered in Rotterdam and Düsseldorf in 2014 – synchronizes the live performance of the complete Wunderhorn Songs with the projection of a film which dramatizes the content of these songs and highlights their dramatic unity. In addition to performing the songs, Henschel will be also the protagonist in the film. Click here to watch the trailer of the film. Click here for the interview with Dietrich about Wunderhorn Songs. Click here to watch the release concert.

Henschel, from the interview: "Nearly all of the songs have something connected to war. Either it's beloved one at war, soldier going to execution, or soldiers running to fight. There is a lot about the weaknesses of war: sarcasm about the lack of humanity. And listening these songs can make you a better human being"
  • Recordings of the Wunderhorn songs are extremely rare, and even concerts and recordings devoted to Wunderhorn materials are unusual
  • Here Mahler translated the clash between the fiary-tale surface and deeper significance into some of the most exotic, visionary but also uncomfortable music he ever wrote
  • The acclaimed German baritone Dietrich Henschel represents a rare fusion of dramatic content and vocal import of these songs
  • He teams up with a Russian piano virtuoso Boris Berezovsky, in whose hands piano becomes such an imposing sound factory that it is difficult, even for a very good orchestra, to compete with him
  • The unique detail of the CD is in the fact that Dietrich sings all the songs which are intended for male and female singing, which he does all by himself
  • The album is a special release to mark the future launch of the film project about the War Compromises called "Wunderhorn"
The performance of the complete Wunderhorn Lieder requires an artist who understands the musical and vocal import of these songs, but also their dramatic content. What is needed, therefore, is a singer-actor. And on this album Dietrich Henschel is the one. A major talent of Henschel's is to extend his theatrical abilities to the lied recital.

Mahler's piano versions of the Wunderhorn lieder represent the sole option for those desirous to record the complete set, but the piano option is not merely a negative choice. According to Donald Mithcell, "the orchestra is there, locked with the piano accompaniments andy struggling to get out". The piano versions are so suggestive of the orchestral texture and coloring, and they are so much more transparent with respect to Mahler's contrapuntal interlacing, that nothing is lost in the hands of a good piano player.

This is where Boris Berezovsky enters the picture. Boris has performed in the most prestigious concert series of our time, and he is reputed for his colorfully grandiose playing which is just the thing to show the orchestral sonorities and textures. Since Mahler’s orchestral lied settings do not always converge with a singer’s needs (or rather: since few orchestras know how to tailor their performance to a singer’s needs), the piano version is a more viable alternative, if at least it is performed by a player who knows to bring out both the grandeur and the poetry in Mahler’s music. 

Click here to watch the release concert.