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Symphonies - Released July 19, 2019 | London Philharmonic Orchestra

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Ah yes, glissandos galore! How we have missed them. While it sometimes seems as though every contemporary conductor, both young and old, feels obliged to bring their own ideas to Mahler’s work, Vladimir Jurowski, already a highly-distinguished conductor who has often explored the works of the “Czech” composer (Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Totenfeier), is not afraid of relying on expressive phrases that seem somewhat questionable today. It is strange, because such joy, performed with such style, is hard to resist... And what a Ruhevoll he delivers on this album! Jurowski continues his Mahlerian journey here with Symphony No. 4. He offers a completely original touch, mingling influences from Dvořák and Janáček with those of Bruckner and Strauss. Is this what Mahler would have wanted? In any case, he is modern precisely for that reason, and Jurowski knows it. It all seems like a game to him. Don’t bother looking for the ethereal (found in Abbado’s interpretation) or eternity (Haitink). Instead, the flutes gargle, the clarinets growl, the bassoons blush, the timpani roar, and above all this bohemian commotion, the violins sing with their “pricking” technique. The fluctuating poetics of Bedächtig have rarely sounded so alive, natural or radiant. The scordatura of the second movement conjures up an image of hell, acting as an appetiser for the Burleske from the Ninth. Finally, the horn continues resounding and, even in the middle of hell, lyricism triumphs. In the final lied (Sehr behaglich), Sofia Fomina, with her perfect voice, performs a light dance with a childish spirit that transcends the lyrics “No music on earth is comparable to ours” (Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden die unsrer verglichen kann werden). It begs the question: were Seefried and Walter the inspiration for this enchanting interpretation by Jurowski? And when will Symphony No. 6 be released?! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released May 10, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

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Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7 has been subject to perhaps a greater variety of interpretations than any of his other orchestral works, with a classic version by Hermann Scherchen clocking in at well under 70 minutes but one by Otto Klemperer with the New Philharmonia Orchestra lasting more than 100. Is the work a big orchestral nocturne, as its later nickname, "Song of the Night," suggested? Is it a philosophical statement? An expression of Viennese neurosis? The work seems to spill over its own boundaries in an almost random way, but analysis reveals a careful overall harmonic structure. Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer, with his closely associated Budapest Festival Orchestra, leans toward the quick end of the spectrum (it's just under 75 minutes long), but the overall tone is warm, without the histrionic surprises of Leonard Bernstein's approach to Mahler. Only in the central Scherzo is there a real bite. Sample the finale, where he lets the movement's uneasy shifts of tonality and thematic material speak for themselves rather than putting you on a careening roller coaster ride, and he emerges at the end with real sunniness. In his hands the work is something of a song of the night -- and morning. Fischer, whose younger brother Adam has also recorded this work (how's that for sibling rivalry?), has the kind of control over the orchestra that comes from long acquaintance. This offers an X factor in the recording's favor, as does Channel Classics' fine sound from the Palace of Arts in Budapest and Fischer's own extensive reflections in the booklet. A recommended version of this thorny symphony. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Due to its need for eight soloists and the vast headcount Mahler insisted on for the choir and the orchestra, the 8th Symphony is rarely played in concert halls simply for financial reasons: in fact, it is nicknamed the Symphony of a Thousand, further emphasising its monstrous reputation. Berlioz-esque in its boundless ambition, this symphony can be just as bold in its glowing orchestration, especially when led by a conductor with as much verve as Yannick Nézet-Seguin, who knows how to favour refinement, instrumental finesse, measure, transparency and the obvious power that are all part and parcel of this momentous score. The Canadian conductor is something of a regular with this particular symphony having performed it several times, including on 4 consecutive nights in Philadelphia in March 2016, but also in Europe in Rotterdam and in Brussels two years later. This recording was taken during the Philadelphia concerts, which were commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first American performance of the work in 1916 with Leopold Stokowski conducting the same orchestra in the same city. Benefiting from the best soloists on the scene, a top-tier choir and the famous “Philadelphia sound” of the orchestra, Nézet-Seguin has 400 singers and instrumentalists under his direction. Together they offer us a very eloquent vision of a masterpiece which treads the line between symphony, cantata and oratorio. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2011 | Warner Classics International

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Symphonies - Released October 26, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
With Symphony No.6 in A Minor "Tragic" written in 1904 (the title, for once, is not a publisher's gimmick, but was indeed given by Mahler in the programme for the first performance in Vienna in 1906), Mahler almost returns to the classical symphony format; we find more voices in the score (a technique that he had already used in No. 5) and a four-movement structure (whereas No. 5 was articulated in five movements thrown into three "parts", with the absence of a programme or philosophical content). Admittedly, the orchestra remains huge, with four woodwinds, eight horns, and six trumpets, not to mention an impressive arsenal of percussion instruments including alpine bells, hammer and xylophone, which he never used elsewhere; in this respect, Mahler contributed to putting an end to the late romantic trend of gigantic works for titanic orchestras. It must be said that the last movement, which lasts at least half an hour, is of a truly tragic expression with its indelible darkness. This frightened the critics, who found the work somewhat bloated. It is therefore up to the conductor to make the score as transparent as possible, the contrapuntal lines readable and the orchestral colours perceptible through the orchestral immensity. Equipped with his MusicAeterna, Teorod Currentzis embarks on the adventure. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Symphonies - Released August 16, 2019 | Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Symphonies - Released December 6, 2019 | BIS

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Classical - Released October 21, 2016 | Evidence

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Classical - Released August 2, 2019 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | BIS

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In an effort to arrange the first performance of his Seventh Symphony, Gustav Mahler declared it to be his best work, ‘preponderantly cheerful in character’. His younger colleague Schönberg expressed his admiration for the work, and Webern considered it his favourite Mahler symphony. Nevertheless, it remains the least performed and least written-about symphony of the entire cycle, and has come to be regarded as enigmatic and less successful than its siblings. One reason for this has been the huge – even for Mahler – contrasts that it encompasses: from a first movement which seems to continue the atmosphere of the previous symphony, the ‘Tragic’ Sixth, to a finale that has been accused of excessive triumphalism, and which Mahler himself once described as ‘broad daylight’. Between these two poles, he supplies no less than two movements entitled Nachtmusik framing a Scherzo to which the composer added the character marking "schattenhaft" (shadowy). Mahler famously said that ‘a symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything’. The Seventh is as true to this dictum as any other of the symphonies, offering a wealth of emotions, moods and colours. The composer makes full and imaginative use of the orchestra’s extended wind and percussion sections – including cowbells, whips and glockenspiel – as well as a mandolin and a guitar, adding a troubadour-like aspect to the nightly serenade of the fourth movement. All of this is brought to life by the players of the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä, as they continue a cycle praised for the performances as well as the recorded sound. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Symphonic Music - Released November 17, 2017 | MUNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER GBR

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The Munich Philharmonic and Sergiu Celibidache share an exceptional legacy. He started his work as principal conductor in 1979 and remained in this position for as long as 17 years. Sergiu Celibidache played an integral part in making the Munich Philharmonic what it is today: an orchestra of worldwide renown. Today the Munich Philharmonic is critically acclaimed internationally with hopelessly sold out concerts in Munich and the world. On their recently launched label MPHIL, the Munich Philharmonic is opening up its vast archives, giving listeners the opportunity to enjoy one of the richest collections of recordings by legendary artists. Because of the Celibidache era and its part in forming the core essence of the orchestra, this first MPHIL physical archive release consists of two recordings under the baton of Maestro Celibidache. The chosen repertoire on the album is Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, recorded 30 June 1983 at the Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich and Richard Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung, recorded on 17 February 1979 also at the Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich. For a long time, Tod und Verklärung was the most popular of Richard Strauss’s early tone poems. It contains a wide range of memorable motifs subtly differentiated with the result that its music recurs whenever there is mention of death or transfiguration in Strauss’ later output. Together with the innocent tone and positively artificial naïveté of the poems that attracted Gustav Mahler as a composer and prompted him to compose the Kindertotenlieder, this thoughtfully curated pairing creates an altogether intimate character while revealing an astonishing wealth of colours. Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder feature German mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender, who holds the prestigious title “Kammersängerin” from the Bavarian State Opera and the Vienna State Opera.
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Classical - Released January 1, 1962 | Warner Classics

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Symphonies - Released June 7, 2019 | Accentus Music

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In an important moment, the great interpreter of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies for Eternal Records (the ethereal symphonies nos. 4 and 7 in Dresden during the seventies, the subtle Symphony No. 6 in San Francisco with Decca, all those with Gewandhaus during his years with Querstand), Herbert Blomstedt returns to head the Bamberger Symphoniker with a 9th by Mahler. But there seems to be something up here. Blomstedt seems to have concentrated his efforts on all that is intrinsically ‘new’ in Mahler’s sonic universe. Blomstedt has stripped back the instrumentals, accusing some of being “ugly” or out of place. He has put emphasis on the harshness of the writing and the explosive character of the changes between string, brass and woodwind parts (Im Tempo eines gemàchlichen Ländlers); even the lyricism has gone under the knife (the central episode of Rono-Burleske). What’s going on? Where are we being taken? We are clearly at the conception of a completely new world here in which the tempos carry a feeling of moderation throughout the symphony and allow one to live, intensely, in the moment: the end of Rondo-Burleske acts as an initial cataclysm. The symphony could have come to an end here but it is followed by the enormous 20-minute-long Adagio postlude in which one asks if it could possibly get more sad or morbid. The colors dull, the tones themselves inexorably fade and the polyphonic layers die down. Emotions fly. With this 9th, recorded in June 2018 in the Joseph-Keilberth-Saal of the Bamberg Konzerthalle, Herbert Blomstedt returns to deliver true Mahler: the abstract. Love is mystical, cosmic and human. It is without hope. Bruckner’s 19th Century is blown away. Fascinating. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
If this 2019 release of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major brings on feelings of déjà vu, it might be because Mariss Jansons has covered this ground before with his previous recordings with the Oslo Philharmonic on Simax and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on RCO Live. Even so, Jansons' release on BR Klassik reflects his mature outlook on Mahler, and where his previous readings of the First may have been oriented primarily towards delivering a polished audiophile presentation, this live performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra delivers terrific sound quality and considerable musical depth. This symphony is extremely popular with audiences, and the wide availability of recordings may make it difficult to choose one over others, but this rendition is certainly a contender. Jansons plays the symphony as it was published in 1899, without including the rejected "Blumine" movement from the original form of the work as a tone poem, and even eschewing the symphony's persistent but unauthorized nickname, "Titan." The playing by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is world-class in its vivid colors, vital rhythms, and technical virtuosity, and the trajectory of the work is skillfully controlled by Jansons, who builds energy and excitement without indulging in unorthodox tempos, except for some hectic rushing at the end of the first movement. On the whole, this is a satisfying recording that holds its own rather well against the competition. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | MUNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER GBR

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