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Ask an enthusiast about recordings of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and you'll end up with a list of classic cds: Kathleen Ferrier, Janet Baker, Klemperer and Bruno Walter. Is it that the contemporary competition just isn't up to scratch, or perhaps that it's such an emotional piece of music that we form a stronger bond with the first recordings we hear?
Pierre Boulez has always been the kind of conductor who can challenge your preconceptions in Mahler's music, and his new Song of the Earth deserves a place on your first recording 'pedestal'. He's analytical without sacrificing sentiment; sometimes you feel as though you're way under the skin of the work, getting so much closer to its soul.
Make sure there's nothing you have to get done straight after listening to this disc: you'll probably need some space for quiet contemplation.
Andrew McGregor - presenter of CD Review on Radio 3