SOMM RECORDINGS announces the release of Kathleen Ferrier in New York, historic performances of Mahler and Bach by the much-loved contralto during her triumphant visits to the United States in 1948 and 1950.
Recorded live on Ferrier’s only appearances in Carnegie Hall in January 1948, four months after her acclaimed performance at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde reunited her with the conductor Bruno Walter and saw her making first appearances with tenor Set Svanholm and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Re-mastered by Norman White and Adrian Tuddenham, this remarkable account pre-dates Ferrier’s often-reissued 1952 recording by four years and finds her in exhilarating fresh voice – a vivid, vital display of a great artist at her peak.
Accompanied by pianist John Newmark in New York’s Town Hall in 1950, three songs by JS Bach – Vergiss mein nicht (BWV 505), Ach dass nicht die letzte Stunde (BWV 439) and his arrangement of Gottfried Stölzel’s Bist du bei mir (BWV 508) – are taken from Ferrier’s final visit to the US.
Also included are excerpts from a revealing 80th birthday interview with Bruno Walter in which he discusses his friendship and collaborations with Mahler and recalls his first meeting and subsequent association with Kathleen Ferrier.
Illuminating booklet notes are provided by Ferrier authority and discographer Paul Campion, who also compiled the disc.
SOMM’s previous Ferrier releases include Bach’s Mass in B minor (Ariadne 5000-2), songs by Brahms, Chausson and Mahler (SOMMCD 075) and Kathleen Ferrier Remembered, a first release of BBC Radio recordings of Lieder and British songs (SOMMCD 264). Kathleen Ferrier in Celebration of Bach (Ariadne 5004) was acclaimed by Gramophone as “an important addition to Ferrier’s discography… one of the most beautiful things she ever committed to disc”.
On This Recording
- interviewed by Arnold Michaelis: Part 1
- I. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde
- II. Der Einsame im Herbst
- III. Von der Jugend
- IV. Von der Schönheit
- V. Der Trunkene im Frühling
- VI. Der Abschied
- interviewed by Arnold Michaelis: Part 2
- Vergiss mein nicht, BWV 505bb
- Ach, dass nicht die letzte Stunde, BWV 439bb
- Bist du bei mir, BWV 508bb
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erdac
a Set Svanholm, tenor
b John Newmark, piano
c New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Bruno Walter, conductor
“A treasure, to be sure. Four years before Bruno Walter’s celebrated, indeed classic Vienna recording (1952) with Kathleen Ferrier, the man who conducted the world premiere of Mahler’s pantheistic symphony with voices takes his newest discovery from the Edinburgh Festival to America, there to share her extraordinary kinship with the piece at New York’s Carnegie Hall. … this performance for me gives a far clearer sense of why Walter felt he had found the ideal singer for the piece… He speaks very movingly about his first meeting with Ferrier in a couple of priceless audio interview snippets included on the disc. … The orchestral detail is remarkable given the source of 78rpm acetate transcription discs – and the remastering has preserved a surprising degree of transparency in what one might call the exotic embroidery of the scorring. … The three Bach additions culminate in ‘Bist du bei mir’ which, given Ferrier’s cruelly premature demise, lingers as long in the memory as the final repetitions – for ever …and ever.” —Edward Seckerson, Gramophone Magazine
March 2020 Diapason D’Or Recipient!