The collection of anonymous German folk poems assembled by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano known as ’Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ (’The Youth’s Magic Horn’) inspired generations of composers - from Carl Maria von Weber to Arnold Schoenberg, but no composer has become as closely identified with these peoms as is Gustav Mahler. It was the emotional range of the Wunderhorn poems, perhaps more than any other single factor, that made them so appealing to Mahler’s temperament. With subjects ranging from love and heartbreak to childhood fantasy to military life and war, Mahler found a literary inspiration that matched his own complicated psychology. Mahler spoke of the Wunderhorn poems as being "essentially different from all kinds of ’literary’ poetry, being more nature and life-that is, the sources of all poetry-than art."
Between 1887 and 1901, he wrote two dozen settings of Wunderhorn texts, several of which were incorporated into his Second, Third and Fourth symphonies. In 1899, he published a collection of a dozen Wunderhorn settings that has since become known, as "Songs from ’Des Knaben Wunderhorn."
On this very special recording made in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death, Maestro GIelen -one of our generation’s greatest Mahlerians - is joined by singers Christiane Iven and H. Müller-Brachmannin in his first integral recording of the entire cycle!
Now in his 80s, Michael GIelen is showing no signs of slowing down, as these vital, new performances will demonstrate. Mahler fans, REJOICE!
Pizzicato magazine - January 2011
"...Gielen’s disc is a valuable contribution from one of the most eminent living Mahlerians."
Richard Whitehouse - International Record Review - December 2011