Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde (sung in Chinese) - Singapore SO, Shui

Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde (sung in Chinese) - Singapore SO, Shui
Orchestral | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 1 CD, 287 MB
November 27, 2007 | BIS | RapidShare

This Chinese-language version of Das Lied von der Erde brings Mahler's inspiration full circle, replacing the original German texts inspired by Tang Dynasty poetry with Daniel Ng's reconstruction of the original Chinese poems combined with a new Chinese transslation of Mahler's own four closing lines of text. As these lines had no actual Chinese antecedent, we also provide the option of an 'all-original' version with Mahler's German ending, simply by omitting track 7. This alternative follows the approach of Universal Edition's forthcoming publication of Daniel Ng's Chinese edition, with text settings assisted by Glen Cortese and Joanna C. Lee.

Admittedly, what they have done on this recording is a far cry from Mahler's original intentions, but then this was never meant to be a substitute or alternative to the original, but just an imaginative experiment, and as such, it sounds fascinating. This Chinese version of Das Lied (based on the original Chinese poems) is not in the Cantonese dialect as such -- the texts are in the original standard literary Chinese, which is the same all over China (differing only in pronunciation). It's only in the pronunciation of the texts that Cantonese is adopted for this performance, and purely for historical linguistic reasons, as every Chinese linguist and scholar knows that, of all the modern Chinese dialects, Cantonese most closely resembles old Chinese in terms of phonology (the note-writer also explains this point). It was a scholarly rather than parochial decision (in fact, neither the conductor nor the mezzo-soprano are native speakers of Cantonese, which must have made things harder for them than if it were in Mandarin).

Track listing:

1. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde
2. Der Einsame in Herbst
3. Von der Jugend
4. Von der Schönheit
5. Der Trunkene im Frühling
6. Der Abschied [Until bar 459]
7. Chinese ending
8. Der Abschied


  1. Very nice effort. By the way, it is necessary to mention the forgotten 'forerunners' of this project.
    Japanese scholar Fusako Hamao was the first ever who had successfully identified the most of the verse used by Mahler in her article The Sources of the Texts in Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde' (published in 1995 in 19th Century Music, vol. XIX No.1)
    The rest of efforts were put forward later by Chew Teng-Leong heading the Chicago Mahler Society.
    One can wonder how far is shifted the original form and essence of the Chinese verse dragged through consequential translations.
    Compare, for example, the text of 'Porcelain Pavilion' as it was translated for the first time into French by Judith Gautier and the original Chinese verse by Li Tai-po (Li Bai) entitled 'Banquet at the house of Tao [family]'.
    It has grown twice in size because the interpreter had contaminated the verse with the text from comments taken in the 18th century Chinese poetical anthology without a warning. Even renowned scholars and connoisseurs of Tang poetry couldn't recognize the original verse in a new clothing put down by Mlle Gautier.
    I have just 2 questions to you:
    1) Does the original edition contain the Chinese sung texts?
    2) Won't you be so kind to add the scans of liner notes from booklet (especially the text justification part and the sung texts themselves)?

  2. Great share. Thank you very much!



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