Ivan Fischer’s Das Lied von der Erde is among the finest I’ve heard. Nothing will ever supplant the Klemperer/Ludwig/Wunderlich – a reading for the ages if ever there were one – but this one, with mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romsberger and tenor Robert Dean Smith, runs it close. The Budapest Festival Orchestra also covers itself in glory: just listen to the plangent oboe in the second song “The lonely one in autumn,” depicting the lengthening shadows.

Album artwork

Mahler’s sublime rumination on life, death, joy, suffering, eternity, transience and everything else human existence can offer, embraces his dictum that a symphony must embrace all creation. The more introspective songs have the nuanced texture of shot silk, the more robust passages a riotous kaleidoscopic exuberance.

Dean...

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