The only known chamber music by Gustav Mahler is a movement for piano quartet from his student days at the Conservatorium in Vienna (1875-1878). The present new arrangements by Ronald Kornfeil go some way to addressing this gap while they also enrich the repertoire with pieces that are very interesting and demanding in their own right. The composer's rich song output includes his Wunderhorn songs, the Songs of a Wayfarer, the Rückert songs, the Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) as well as movements from his symphonies and the Song of the Earth. This book includes a selection of pieces that best suit the sound of the flute while providing plenty of variety. The arrangements transform Mahler's songs from their original conception for voice and piano or orchestral accompaniment into a purely instrumental dialogue between two equally important instrumentalists. In most cases the colourful orchestral versions provide the starting point. The omission of the text also demands different compositional techniques to bring out the various effects between indulgent sweetness and grotesque irony.
The internationally acclaimed flautist, Emmanuel Pahud presents further publications in this new series bringing together selected pieces from the repertoire of famous flautists.
The two other songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn are just as colourful and brilliantly arranged, drawing on the full range of colours and variety possible on the flute. These are ambitious songs to transcribe and ultimately, it is hard not to miss Mahler's full orchestral textures. (…) They are an exciting challenge for flautists lucky enough to work regularly with a pianist, for these songs cannot be thrown together on one quick glance. Adding to vocal arrangements for flute and piano is most welcome and these new arrangements are great additions. Pan Magazine September 2015, 57 (Elizabeth Walker)