Album review: Pierre Boulez, Wiener Philharmoniker, Mahler: Das Klagende Lied; Berg: Lulu-Suite (Deutsche Grammophon)


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Rarely performed, Mahler's Das Klagende Lied is a grisly fantasy in which the bones of a victim of regal fratricide are used to make a magic flute which, when played by the murderer, reveals his guilt – a sort of cross between Hamlet and Saw.

Subtly but dramatically performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker under Pierre Boulez, it's paired here with Alban Berg's Lulu-Suite in a programme that confirms the huge influence of Mahler's gruesome cantata on Berg.

Anna Prohaska is splendid as the latter's sensuous heroine, but it's Das Klagende Lied, with its dynamic range further extended by the vast choir supporting the three principal singers, which captures the imagination here.

Download: Das Klagende Lied; Lulu-Suite