CD: MAHLER’S “Songs With Orchestra” – SF Symphony Completes Mahler Recording Project

SFSymphony to release limited edition vinyl boxed set of complete Mahler Project

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The San Francisco Symphony’s Grammy-winning Mahler recording cycle, launched in 2001 on its own SFS Media™ label, has come to a close this season with the release of MAHLER / SONGS WITH ORCHESTRA. The CD features Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leading the Orchestra and Susan Graham performing Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder. Thomas Hampson and the Orchestra contribute performances of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) and selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Rückert-Lieder and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen were both recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall during the SFS’s three-week Mahler Festival in September 2009. The selected songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with MTT, Hampson and the Orchestra were recorded at Davies Symphony Hall in May 2007. The release coincides with worldwide celebration of the music of Mahler: 2010 is the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth, and 2011 marks the 100th year of Mahler’s death.  The SFS and Michael Tilson Thomas, among the world’s leading interpreters of Mahler’s music, will play a significant role in the global commemoration of Mahler, through concerts, extensive media projects, and prominent international tour performances.

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The SFS Media Mahler cycle has won seven Grammy Awards, including three for Best Classical Album. In January, its September 2009 release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10 garnered three Grammys in the categories of Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, and Best Engineered Classical Album. The cycle has sold over 140,000 recordings. SF Symphony will commemorate the completion of this ambitious recording cycle by introducing a complete CD Boxed Set and, for the collector, a limited deluxe vinyl edition.

THOMAS HAMPSON, Baritone — SUSAN GRAHAM, Mezzo-soprano

The release of Mahler’s Songs with Orchestra coincided with MTT and the San Francisco Symphony’s tour of Europe this past September which included performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at the prestigious Lucerne Festival and in Turin, Italy.  In May 2011 Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Symphonies No. 2, 6 and 9 at Davies Symphony Hall and on tour in Europe including as part of a rare four-concert engagement at the famed Vienna Konzerthaus during the city’s commemoration of the Mahler anniversaries.

Orders now being taken for 22 LP collection on 180G vinyl

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This 22 LP set is the capstone of the seven-time Grammy award winning Mahler Cycle, recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall from 2001-2009. The series, released in individual installments on Hybrid SACD, was a commercial success and lauded with endless laurels of critical acclaim.
This amazingly packaged collection is numbered and limited to 1000 sets. The first 250 sets are signed by Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas. There are twenty-two 180g vinyl LPs, housed in luxuriously designed, gatefold jackets. An accompanying hard bound book features extensive liner notes, bios, and texts in three languages, plus archival photographic material of Mahler. Originally recorded to DSD and remastered at 98k/24bit, the collection includes over 18 hours of music, featuring:
•     Symphony No. 1
•     Symphony No. 2 – with soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus,
•     Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder 2003 Grammy Award Winner for Best Classical Album – featuring mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, Women of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Pacific Boychoir, and San Francisco Girls Chorus, Vance George, Chorus Director
•     Symphony No. 4 – with soprano Laura Claycomb
•     Symphony No. 5
•     Symphony No. 6 – 2002 Grammy Award Winner for Best Orchestral Performance
•     Symphony No. 7 – 2006 Grammy Award Winner for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance
•     Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10 – 2009 Grammy Award Winner for Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, and Best Engineered Classical Album with sopranos Erin Wall, Elza van den Heever, and Laura Claycomb; mezzo-sopranos Katarina Karnéus and Yvonne Naef; tenor Anthony Dean Griffey; baritone Quinn Kelsey; and bass-baritone James Morris, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin; and the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Pacific Boychoir
•      Symphony No. 9 – with Marina Shaguch, soprano; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Moser, tenor; Sergei Leiferkus, baritone; San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Vance George, Chorus Director
•      Das klagende Lied
•      Das Lied von der Erde – with baritone Thomas Hampson and tenor Stuart Skelton
•      Songs With Orchestra: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with baritone Thomas Hampson; The Rückert-Lieder with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham; Des Knaben Wunderhorn (selections) with baritone Thomas Hampson
•      Bonus 45rpm of the piano version of Rückert-Lieder performed by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Michael Tilson Thomas on piano.


The total price of the Mahler Project Vinyl Box Set is $749, including shipping. Pre-order with this $75 deposit and secure your copy today. The anticipated release is April 2011. Pre-orders must be made by December 31, 2010. In the event that pre-orders fail to reach 600 by December 31st, the initial $75 charge will be refunded in full.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:


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