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



MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor Resurrection (1894) [90.00]
Ricarda Merbeth (soprano); Bernarda Fink (mezzo)
Netherlands Radio Choir
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
rec. live, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 3 December 2009
Music is the Language of the Heart and Soul: A Portrait of Mariss Jansons
Documentary: A Film by Robert Neumüller [52.00]
Picture format: 16:9, HD 1080i. Sound: DTS Master Audio 5.0 (Concert Only), PCM Stereo. Region Code: ABC
Subtitles in English, German (concert only), French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean
Booklet: English, German, French

Experience Classicsonline

Mariss Jansons’ Mahler performances with the Concertgebouw Orchestra strongly remind me of the Decca cycle recorded by this orchestra with their previous director, Riccardo Chailly. The preparation is scrupulous, featuring wonderful attention to detail. Every orchestral section displays immaculate intonation and ensemble, while the solos are always played with assuming virtuosity and the highest level of musicianship. The orchestra has always had a uniquely burnished sound that seems made for Mahler’s music. When this disc arrived for review, I had just finished listening to Chailly’s boxed set of the symphonies and had purchased Chailly’s new Mahler DVDs of Symphonies Nos. 2 and 8, performed by the Gewandhaus, Leipzig. It was intriguing to compare these two Chailly performances with the one caught on Jansons’ Blu-ray disc. 

Chailly’s Concertgebouw performance is arguably the worst in his cycle. From start to finish it is all beautifully played, but never catches fire. The sound lacks energy and seems overly cautious, as if both orchestra and chorus are intent on showing how beautiful they can sound. Jansons’ Concertgebouw performance is far more impressive - orchestral sound remains astoundingly beautiful, but the players seem far more engaged. There is an obvious rapport between Jansons and his musicians; witnessing that relationship - I cannot think of any other performance I have seen on DVD where the conductor smiles so much of the time - only adds to the viewer’s enjoyment.
My past experience with Jansons’ Mahler has left me ambivalent. I once owned his recording of Symphony No. 2 featuring the Oslo Philharmonic (Chandos, 1992) and have more recently heard his performance of Symphonies Nos. 1 and 6 with the Concertgebouw. His performances always display thorough preparation, attention to detail and an acute awareness of structure. What I often find lacking is that last ounce of inspiration that seems so readily apparent in Bernstein, Tennstedt and Abbado. This performance, however, immediately drew me in. With that final massive E-flat chord, I was overwhelmed, keenly aware that this was Mahler of great conviction and overwhelming technical excellence. With stunning surround sound and a picture so clear you could practically read the score over Jansons’ shoulder, I thought this was unequivocally the prime recommendation for a DVD of Mahler’s Second Symphony. Then I watched Chailly’s performance.
The Gewandhaus Orchestra plays with a powerful fervor and engagement that was sorely lacking in the earlier recording. Chailly conducts like a man possessed and the orchestra is with him every step of the way. Again, the rapport between musicians and conductor is readily apparent, and the Gewandhaus musicians have nothing to fear from comparison with their Dutch neighbors. Once again I was overwhelmed at the final E-flat chord, as Mahler’s ideas about God, faith and the afterlife were so fully conveyed. How to choose between these two awesome performances?
I wish I could write that the Mariss Jansons film tips the scales. This well made, substantial (52 minutes long) documentary follows Jansons as he visits his hometown of Riga, Latvia, prepares for a Tchaikovsky opera performance in the Netherlands, and for a New Year’s Day Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic. Towards the beginning of the film, where several people share how much they admire and love working with Jansons, I feared this might end up being a superficial publicity film. Yet once Jansons began reflecting on his health struggles, and growing up in a country controlled by the Soviet Union, we receive great insight into what has made him the musician he is today. Interestingly, as Jansons shares what he learned studying under Karajan, one cannot help but be struck by his unassuming humility, in stark contrast to his mentor. I came away with a new admiration for Jansons, the musician and the man.
Nevertheless, will I watch this film repeatedly? I doubt it unless I want to directly quote something Jansons said during the filmed interviews - the title of the film is in fact a Jansons quote. Therefore, the film does not add greatly to the value of this disc. Choosing between the Chailly and Jansons performances is really difficult; you won’t go wrong with either performance. If forced to choose just one, I would go with Jansons, because orchestra, soloists, choir, conductor, and the hall itself are filmed and recorded so magnificently. Watching, you will be renewed and uplifted, and that is surely what Mahler intended.
David A. McConnell


Note: Interestingly, this same performance is simultaneously available on the Concertgebouw’s own label - RCO Live: RCO10102. It’s in a package that includes a 2-SACD performance of the work taken from 2 or 3 concerts plus a DVD. I hope this note will prevent needless duplication.






















































































































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.