Kokoschka’s Doll: Music by Casken, Alma & Gustav Mahler, etc. | Champs Hill Records CHRCD150

Kokoschka’s Doll: Music by Casken, Alma & Gustav Mahler, etc.


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Label: Champs Hill Records

Cat No: CHRCD150

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 24th January 2020



John Tomlinson (bass-baritone)
Rozanna Madylus (soprano)


Casken, John

Kokoschka's Doll

Liszt, Franz

Isolde's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (Wagner), S447

Mahler, Alma

Einsamer Gang
Lieder (4)
» no.1 Licht in der Nacht
» no.4 Erntelied
Lieder (5) (1911)
» no.3 Laue Sommernacht

Mahler, Gustav

Des Knaben Wunderhorn
» no.9 Wo die schonen Trompeten blasen
Ruckert-Lieder (5)
» Liebst du um Schonheit
Symphony no.5 in C sharp minor
» IV Adagietto (extract)

Matthews, David


Wagner, Richard

Wesendonck-Lieder (5), WWV91
» no.5 Traume (Dreams)

Webern, Anton

Movement for string trio, op.post

Zemlinsky, Alexander von

Ehetanzlied und andere Gesange, op.10
» no.2 Selige Stunde


John Tomlinson (bass-baritone)
Rozanna Madylus (soprano)


The Art of Love – a song sequence from Alma Mahler – prepares us for the emotional storms of contemporary composer John Casken’s Kokoschka’s Doll.

Soprano Rozanna Madylus, together with brilliant chamber ensemble Counterpoise, sets the scene in songs by Alma Mahler, her first love and composition teacher Zemlinsky, and the man she married, Gustav Mahler, in new arrangements by composer David Matthews.

Revered bass-baitone Sir John Tomlinson takes centre-stage for John Casken’s Kokoschka’s Doll, an extraordinary telling of the real-life story of Oskar Kokoschka’s infatuation with Alma Mahler. More widely, Kokoschka’s Doll explores the way women have been objectified sexually throughout history – as models and muses, as objects rather than as real women (Oskar, a great Austrain painter, commissioned a life-size doll to help him come to terms with the end of his passionate and tempestuous relationship with Alma).

The new libretto text, by John Casken and Barry Millington, draws on Oskar’s letters and autobiography. In all, this release charts the life of Alma Mahler, a strikingly accomplished woman and composer who gave up her musical ambitions to marry Gustav Mahler, and who remained a muse and highly attractive inspiration to many others. Her early compositions are little-known gems which deserve much wider attention; this album release highlights her story.

Sir John Tomlinson writes: “It has been a joy to work with Rozanna (as Alma), and the four instrumentalists whose distillation of the sounds of the symphony orchestra into its four constituent parts creates the thrilling clarity and transparency unique to the Counterpoise sound, and quality. Welcome to the world of Oskar and Alma.”

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