One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 1 Titan [55:50]
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Thierry Fischer
rec. live, Maurice Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 12-13 September 2014
reviewed in surround.
REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-715 SACD [55:50]

It is tempting to dismiss yet another Mahler First entering a crowded market as simply not needed. In this case it would be a mistake because this does offer something special in several respects. First and most important, a reminder that the Utah Symphony Orchestra is clearly still a splendid band for whom this complex work, with which they have a long recorded history, offers no terrors. Conducted briskly by their well established Music Director Thierry Fischer, these players respond with as rhythmically vital a performance as you could wish to hear. Tempi are a little faster than the norm but compared with some of the great Mahlerians like Abbado, Walter and Bernstein, Fischer is little different in terms of timings. He is different in approach, encouraging a dance-like quality from music where we are used to more pauses for introspection. One could support his upbeat view by reference to Mahler's own programmes but since the composer admitted these were often written after the music as a means for audiences to access it more easily, we will avoid such quotation. For whatever reason, Mahler's 'Titan' is often presented as positive. For example, the first movement has lots of characterful and very rhythmic woodwind playing, a sort of Mahlerian jam-session. It is a perfectly valid view. The second movement is in any case rhythmic, here it becomes more so, encouraged by Fischer's brisk tempi. It is an exciting virtuoso display. I have one small but significant criticism of the third movement. The double-bass solo is much too well played. There is none of the straining that Mahler must have expected. He could not have predicted how good modern players would become. As a result the theme gets a rather too sophisticated presentation. The explosive opening of the finale, helped by a very present bass drum and gong, pins one back in one's seat just as it should. The mystery and angst others find in this music is replaced by a lively and confident traversal through Mahler's teeming ideas ending with an eruption of sound that must have stimulated loud cheers from the Utah audiences but which the engineers have excluded for the home listener. Since the hall resonance has time to fade away this is either a 'patch' job, or the audience were asked for restraint.

The recording level is quite high but with digital media this doesn't matter. The Soundmirror engineers, long famous for their skill, have captured a convincing concert hall acoustic and though extra microphones were used beyond the five main ones, it does have a feeling of reality not often captured. Finally the notes are well written, detailed, extensive, give historic context and, thank you notes editor, printed in a readable size font.


Dave Billinge

Previous reviews: Dan Morgan ~ John Quinn


 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger