Mahler Lieder!

Gerhaher sings Mahler Lieder

Throughout the last 100 years, we have experienced singers who show us that they are experts at singing the songs of Gustav Mahler. Names that come to mind are Thomas Hampson and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. As such, once a singer becomes pretty well known, it’s just a matter of time before we’ll get a recording of Mahler songs from him/her. Such is the case with Christian Gerhaher.

There are 20 songs in this collection. Unlike Hampson or Fischer-Dieskau, Gerhaher’s voice isn’t unusually distinctive; while I instantly recognize the other two singers, I don’t see highly unusual qualities in Gerhaher’s singing, even though his interpretations are quite pleasing.

The program on this CD is made up from the Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen, and from the Ruckert Lieder; the rest are from the Knaben Wunderhorn collection and the early songs.

There’s no doubt that Christian Gerhaher is a solid singer, with a sensitive, musical melodic line. However, I did not hear any unique aspects, such as deep emotionality, humor, or irony in his singing, even though each interpretation was presented in a reasonable way. I suspect that my issue is simply that I recall some great singers like Christa Ludwig, who was an outstanding Mahler interpreter, and Mr. Gerhaher is not yet her equal.

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