One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor Resurrection (1894) [84:17]
Anne Schwanewilms (soprano); Lioba Braun (alto)
Chor der Bayerische Symphoniker/Rolf Beck
Bamberger Symphoniker and Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie/Jonathan Nott
rec. 14-15 March 2008, Joseph-Keilberth-Saal, Konzerthalle Bamberg, Germany
Sung texts included
2 SACDs for the price of 1
TUDOR 7158 [32:53 + 51:24]

Experience Classicsonline

This Mahler 2 is very fine indeed. The orchestra are on top form and the recorded sound is excellent. Most importantly of all, Jonathan Nott delivers an interpretation that exploits every dramatic possibility and also suggests some solutions to the structural problems that dog the work.

This innovative structural thinking is most evident in the first movement. The problem, and it is a problem that most conductors ignore, is that the movement is too long and too autonomous to function as an opener. Nottís solution is to vary the textures and tempos, so that only the most intense climaxes are given full weight. One result is that many passages seem of less consequence, although never less committed, than in other recordings. The opening, for example, is very fast. It is cleanly articulated by the lower strings, but there is no sense of bombast; not yet anyway. The faster tempi and lower dynamics give the advantage to the woodwind soloists, who really shine, floating above the nervous strings with ease. When the great climaxes do come, in the development and the recapitulation, they are all the better for the waiting. The brass are really effective in the louder passages, they have a searing tone which sounds as if bordering on the uncontrolled, which may or may not be the case, but certainly adds to the frisson.

The break between the discs is put between the second and third movements, an unusual move, given that the divide usually comes between the first and second. Mahler states in the score that there should be a 5 minute break between the first and second movements, and putting the switch after the first gives the listener the opportunity to emulate that practise at home. How many people actually do that? And does it increase their enjoyment of the work? No, it is just a clumsy solution to a major structural problem. Nott has a better idea, and I suspect that he has had a say in the positioning of the break. Instead of a five minute pause between the movements, his solution is to play down the drama of the first movement coda so that it does not overwhelm the second movement opening. He takes the descending chromatic scale superfast, but he has already set this up, because the tempo indication in the score is ĎTempo 1í, and as he had taken the start of the movement similarly fast, it coheres elegantly. Genius!

The second and third movements are more relaxed than you will hear on many recordings. The second in particular is slow, gently flowing, almost pastoral. The SACD sound picks out some wonderful details here, particularly the low woodwind and the harps. There is slightly more drama in the third movement, but as in the first, it tends to be localised, bringing implicit emphasis through comparison with the more relaxed passages.

The vocal soloists are both good, although it is a shame that their timbres donít match. Lioba Braun has a rich, husky alto, while Anne Schwanewilms has a much purer, crisper soprano. The finale is another dramatic tour de force, as with the first movement, Nott allows plenty of variety in his tempos and dynamics. Iím particularly impressed by the originality of the tempo decisions. Much of the movement is quite slow, but even when Nott pulls the tempos around from one bar to the next it never feels indulgent. The choral climax, by contrast, is slightly faster than most other readings, but no less monumental. Detail is the key to Nottís art; he knows that if he can get the internal balance with the orchestra right, and have every player agree on the articulations and note lengths, then he will be in a position to concentrate on the bigger picture. I have been impressed in the past by a number of Nottís recordings - have you heard his Ligeti Requiem? Phenomenal! - and he strikes me as the kind of recording artist for whom superior audio is a major benefit. Those inside lines in the strings, the subtle differences of timbre in woodwind duets, gradual dynamic changes in the harp, all these things are essential to his approach. Hearing his work presented at this audio quality you can really see where he is coming from.

It says on the back of the box that this is a live recording. Iíll take their word for that, but it surprises me, given the finely tuned balance of the orchestra, not to mention the absolute absence of audience noise or applause.

Gone are the days when we talked about benchmark recordings of Mahler symphonies, there are just too many high quality recordings out there for the idea to remain feasible. But perhaps this could be described as a benchmark of recent Mahler interpretation. It is certainly among the best of the many Mahler discs I have heard this year. On the other hand, it is such a coherent and self-sufficient interpretation, that comparison with others seems irrelevant. Very much for all fans of Nott and Mahler Ė however many Resurrection Symphonies you already have on your shelf.

Gavin Dixon

see also review by Dan Morgan May RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.