MAHLER: DAS LIED VON DER ERDEChamber arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg (1920)
KEN SELDEN, conductor
ROBERT BREAULT, tenor
RICHARD ZELLER, baritone
OREGON ARTS WATCH Review [September 2013]
NORTHWEST REVERB Review [September 2013]
“Ken Selden conducts with splendid attention to detail and an appealing flexibility. The Martingale Ensemble is a fine collection of players. [Richard Breault’s] technique and intonation are excellent. Baritone Richard Zeller has a warm instrument, which he uses expressively… The sound engineering is slightly dry but well balanced, detailed, and appealing. Texts and translations are provided… I think the chamber version offers wonderful insight into the work and at the very least is an important supplement to the original. In Ken Selden’s highly persuasive performance, this recording is one I see myself returning to many times for understanding and sustenance. It is a privileged musical experience.”
Dave Saemann, Fanfare [January/February 2014]
“[In Trevor Pinnock’s interpretation of Schoenberg’s chamber reduction of Mahler Symphony No.4] the players and singer are quite able, but [his] interpretation of the Mahler is too choppy and persnickety for my tastes. If you must have this edition, I’d recommend the reading of Ken Selden and his Martingale Ensemble on MSR (March/April 2012)… Selden’s interpretation [of Das Lied] is a good one, Sound quality is good.”
O’Connor, American Record Guide [January/February 2014]
[ * * * * ] “I find [the performance] to be quite sympathetic with true Mahlerian style, and utterly convincing in its dramatic thrust. Breault and Zeller are both accomplished musicians that…are fully capable of pulling it off in fine fashion, while the Martingale Ensemble…turns in an outstanding performance, recorded in excellent sound… many [listenrs] will enjoy these excellent readings.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [January 2014]
"An unusual interpretation of Das Lied in excellent sound and presentation that will surprise even those familiar with Mahler's oeuvre."
Gerald Fenech, Music & Vision [December 2013]
“What a BEAUTIFUL recording!... [This is] an exceptional arrangement and recording! What Mahler had orchestrated with a large ensemble Schoenberg captured with his small band, showing himself to be a master orchestrator. The decision to have tenor and baritone soloists alternate instead of the usual alto and tenor was a stroke of brilliance and lends a very nice difference to the many alto/tenor recordings… extremely unusual, sensually beautiful, aurally incredible, and performances and interpretations as close to perfect as you'll find as with Das Lied. I cannot recommend Das Lied highly enough, and I very eagerly wait for more recordings from Ken Selden and his Martingale Ensemble."
Donald Venezia, The Patch [November 2013]
“On the present offering by Ken Selden and the Martingale Ensemble, composed of energetic young musicians from the Pacific Northwest, we have a very sensitive account of the ethos that informs Das Lied. In fact, it is one of the main features of their performance… To say that Selden and his cohorts realize these elements better than the majority of those who have undertaken Das Lied von der Erde is to give them no more than their due. Their grasp of the nuances in text and score is helped by use of the 1983 completion by German composer Rainer Riehn of Arnold Schoenberg’s 1920 chamber arrangement. In re-scoring for string and wind quintets plus two percussionists, with piano, celeste and harmonium filling in the harmonies, nothing of importance has been lost in the process. In fact, it carries forward Mahler’s own breaking down the symphony orchestra itself into a series of chamber groups. The resulting intimacy goes right to the heart of the matter.“
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [August 2013]
PROGRAM NOTESSociety for Private Musical Performance - In 1918, Arnold Schoenberg founded a private concert organization called Society for Private Musical Performances (Verein für Musikalische Privataufführungen), with the intention of promoting interest in contemporary music through exclusive performances of “all modern music from that of Mahler and Strauss to the newest, under the best possible conditions.” Only subscribers were admitted, and critics were excluded. This kind of secluded private concert organization fit well into the artistic scene of early 1900s Vienna, where artists and conoisseurs would frequently meet in private gatherings to discuss music, art, literature, Sigmund Freud’s new ideas on psychology, or even to hold spiritual séances. Among the composers whose music was played were Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Mahler, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Debussy, Marx, Wellesz, Bartók, Ravel and Suk. One of the goals of the Society was to connect contemporary abstract music with that of tonal music in the late Romantic style. For this purpose, a series of orchestral works were arranged for large chamber ensemble, drawing attention to the fundamental aspects of structure and expression, and creating a framework to experience the music in an intimate setting. These remarkable arrangements never entered the public concert repertoire, but recently there has been a renewed interest, from both a historical and performance perspective. The context of the Verein für Musikalische Privataufführungen represents an important part of the historical background in which the work recorded on this CD was arranged and performed.
Tenor Robert Breault, who enjoys an international career that encompasses opera, oratorio, recital and concert work, is known for his warm and flexible voice, dramatic acting skills, and for making “an excellent impression, his mellifluous tenor boasting clarity of both tone and diction; clearly reveling in high notes, he sang with notable dynamic variety.” Recent highlights include Cavaradossi in Tosca with Edmonton Opera, the Duke in Rigoletto with Opéra de Montréal, Jupiter and Apollo in a new production of Semele with the New York City Opera, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Utah Opera, Sam in Susannah with Arizona Opera, the title role in Werther with Chautauqua Opera, Pandarus in Walton’s Troilus and Cressida for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Alfredo in La Traviata with the Fort Worth Opera. On the concert stage he has joined the National Philharmonic, Florida Bach Festival, Utah Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, San Diego Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.
One of America’s foremost baritones, Richard Zeller is internationally acclaimed for both his concert and operatic roles. He is known for his sonorous dramatic voice, a compelling stage presence and outstanding musicianship. Zeller’s opera engagements have included 12 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He is highly regarded in the concert field, and has sung with virtually all the major orchestras in the United States, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Baltimore, Seattle, Oregon and San Diego, to name a few. He is celebrated for his interpretation of the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which he has sung with the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and many others throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and he has given more than 100 performances each of Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Handel’s Messiah.
Ken Selden is Director of Orchestral Studies at Portland State University. Under his direction, the PSU Symphony has received three ASCAP awards in Adventurous Programming, and has performed with Manuel Barrueco, Jennifer Frautschi, Matt Haimovitz, Anna Polonsky, Awadagin Pratt and Orli Shaham. Since arriving in Portland in 2006, he has appeared as guest conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, Salem Chamber Orchestra and Newport Symphony. Prior to his appointment at PSU, he led a series of performances as assistant conductor of two innovative ensembles - the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Eos Orchestra - and conducted orchestras at Juilliard Pre-College, Brooklyn College and Columbia University. An advocate for new music, he has worked with composers Pierre Boulez, John Cage and Tan Dun, and has conducted world premieres of music by Peter Lieberson, Michael Nyman and Stephen Paulus. Selden attended the National Conducting Institute at Kennedy Center, where he studied with Leonard Slatkin and conducted the National Symphony. He made his debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra at the invitation of Pinchas Zuckerman, and subsequently appeared with orchestras of Denver, Baltimore, Minnesota and North Carolina, and at music festivals in the United States, Israel, Japan, Romania and Switzerland. Additionally, he has performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at the David Oistrakh Festival and conducted orchestras in Finland, Italy and Belgium.
The Martingale Ensemble features young professional musicians in the Pacific Northwest, including principal players of the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle, Florestan Trio, Northwest New Music and 45th Parallel.
PROGRAMGUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)
DAS LIED VON DER ERDE (1908-09)
Chamber arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg (1920)
Completed by Rainer Riehn (1983)
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