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Karen Cargill and Simon Lepper Lieder: Alma And Gustav Mahler (Linn Records)

Here is something to love and treasure.

In this neck of the woods we are familiar, and terminally smitten, with the ultra-gorgeous voice of mezzo Karen Cargill, particularly through her work with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded with them, of course, but now she makes her debut solo recital disc for Linn, with her regular accompanist Simon Lepper. It's all Mahler, Gustav and Alma (and therein lies an extraordinary story for elsewhere). This is one of the most beautiful recordings I have ever heard. Cargill is in sumptuous form, at the top of her game, and never more ravishingly voiced than in these glorious, heart-melting performances of Gustav's Ruckert Lieder (my favourite set of all), the five Wayfarer Songs, Urlicht from the Second Symphony, and five enthralling, revelatory and lovely songs by Alma. There is a halo of intense, luminous beauty around Cargill's voice throughout. It is one of her greatest performances. It will break your heart.

Michael Tumelty

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