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Mahler: Songs Of A Wayfarer / Haselbock, Ryan

Mahler / Haselbock / Ryan
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9341   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Hermine HaselböckRussell Ryan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MAHLER Songs of a Wayfarer. Rückert Lieder. Kindertotenlieder Hermine Haselböck (ms); Russell Ryan (pn) BRIDGE 9341 (60:25 Text and Translation)

It’s always a pleasure to discover a new (to me) singer of this high caliber. Hermine Haselböck is the real deal: a beautiful yet rich mezzo voice with superb phrasing, impeccable control of shading, dynamics, and coloration, and a real interpretive sense. I absolutely love this voice, and I think you will, too.

My only caveat is that Read more Ryan’s piano accompaniments tend to be too slow, in some cases eschewing momentum in favor of atmosphere. This is all well and good, especially in the Rückert Lieder and Kindertotenlieder, but I feel somewhat disappointed in the last two Songs of a Wayfarer. Haselböck, on the other hand, is consistently into these songs in every possible way. She has her own unique way of articulating and interpreting the lyrics, and I am especially pleased by the great command she has of her voice. She is even able to drain certain high notes of vibrato completely, and she can change her timbre to suit the mood of each song. Although she is a true mezzo and not a contralto, I hear a timbral similarity in her voice to the late Karin Branzell.

Because of pianist Ryan’s choice to pursue rather lethargic tempos, I can’t really give this disc a five-star rating, especially when there are so many other superb recordings of these little song cycles out there—most of them with the orchestral accompaniment—by numerous sopranos, mezzos, and baritones, but Haselböck can certainly woo you into thinking that hers is the best, and possibly only, way to interpret this music.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley


"Austrian singer Hermine Haselböck accompanied on piano by Russell Ryan recorded her Mahler Lieder recital over a number of sessions in 2008 and 2009 at the Lisztzentrum in Raiding, Austria. Haselböck’s programme comprises three song cycles Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer); the Rückert-Lieder and Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children).

It did take me a while to get used to the characteristics of Haselböck’s voice. At the start of a number of the Mahler Lieder particularly in Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht her voice initially appears a touch severe before it begins to warm and soften. Overall diction is exceptionally clear, accentuating all the consonants. As heard in Ging heut Morgen übers Feld pronouncing each word one at a time makes the legato seem rather ponderous. I felt that quickly taken notes when under pressure in her top register presented some difficulty providing a degree of harshness. I would never describe this voice as beautiful although it is highly expressive and has considerable amplitude. I was struck by the amount of drama Haselböck produced in Ich hab'ein glühend Messer. With the words Wennich den Himmel she’ her high register when under pressure sounds rather piecing. She is very much at home with the funeral tread of Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz with her voice sounding agreeably soft and tender. When singing the words Ich bin ausgegangen: in stiller Nacht it sounds as if she means every word. A fine example of how excellent the singing can be is in Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder! which really suits her deliberate style and clear production. I loved her tender expression in the short song Liebst du um Schönheit and the abundance of heartbreaking yearning in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen which is so expressively sung. Dark and melancholic Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n from the Kindertotenlieder is full of world weary expression. A degree of harshness to the voice is evident with the words Du musst nicht die Nacht in dir verschränken. Commencing with what sounds like suspect piano tuning the song Nun seh ich wohl is tenderly sung conveying a sense of heartbreaking yearning. Sombre and highly moving Oft denk’ich contains stunning singing in her higher register which is assisted by not being taken too quickly. Low and dark, and taken briskly in the song In diesem Wetter the tempo increases and the tension builds to produce considerable drama. Exceptionally moving the music slows down and fades away to nothing. Hermine Haselböck and Russell Ryan are quite closely recorded with a cool clear sound quality that I found most agreeable. The Bridge label is to be congratulated for providing full German texts with English translations."

-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International

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Works on This Recording

1.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Hermine Haselböck (Mezzo Soprano), Russell Ryan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1896; Germany 
Notes: Version for voice and piano. 
2.
Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Hermine Haselböck (Mezzo Soprano), Russell Ryan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1904; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Version for voice and piano.  
3.
Rückert Lieder (5) by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Hermine Haselböck (Mezzo Soprano), Russell Ryan (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Version for voice and piano.  

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 fell in love with her voice September 15, 2012 By Stephen N. (Oreland, PA) See All My Reviews "It didn't take me long to warm up to Ms. Haselbock's rich mezzo voice,I was entranced the moment I heard her." Report Abuse
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