“Poetic inspiration” at the Musikverein with Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde

“Tension, reconciliation, and resignation – these three words turned through my head this evening as the Wiener Virtuosen and soloists Klaus Florian Vogt and Thomas Hampson took on Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde . . .

Baritone Thomas Hampson had the more introspective numbers to tend to. Against the backdrop of hopeless violin oscillations in “Der Einsame im Herbst” he vocally mourned, employing a slender, haunting vocal timbre. The form of the “schönste von den Jungfrau’n” was painted vocally and musically in “Von der Schönheit”. . . The relentlessly lengthy finale, “Der Abschied”, was masterfully delivered. Between the plaintive opening oboe solo against bass and cello, musical sighing motifs of waves and wind, and the recurring funeral march colored by gong, low winds and strings, Hampson sent us pensively out into the night, singing his goodbyes and of his heart’s search for peace.”

Chanda VanderHart –

“Interaction with the worldview of the piece fell to Hampson; a position one senses he doesn’t hugely mind occupying alone . . . His sung German has always possessed a strong poetic sensibility and he got the audience’s rapt attention when delivering lines like ‘Mein Herz ist müde. Meine kleine Lampe erlosch mit Knistern’ (‘my heart is weary. My little lamp has gone out with a sputter’).”

Seb Smallshaw – Seen and Heard International