One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider
  • Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Sinfonie Concertanti
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Gustav MAHLER (1864-1911)
Symphony No.4 in G major (1899-1901)
Genia Kühmeier (soprano)
Münchner Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev
rec. live, 21-23 & 28 March 2017, Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich.
MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0005 [56:44]

This appears to be a composite recording derived from three concerts, possibly, as is usually the case today with live recordings, some material from rehearsals and maybe even additional patching sessions. In any case, the result is in beautifully balanced sound with nary a hint of audience noise – indeed the conductor is the only mild offender in that regard.

Beauty is the watchword for this most relaxed and sumptuously played account. A recent “Gramophone” review condemned it as anodyne, correct and characterless; certainly, it is in a lighter vein, untroubled by the undercurrent of angst apparent in weightier recordings from such as Horenstein, Abbado, Tennstedt and Maazel; this is decidedly a conception couched in a lighter vein, similar to the famous Szell recording and – surprisingly – Solti’s version with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Personally, I find it delightful and wholly consistent with my own perception of this as Mahler’s most celebratory and insouciant symphony. That does not preclude other interpretations, nor does Gergiev gloss over the darker moments by translating the music into an interrupted bucolic romp.

The first movement is larded with plenty of portamento and rubato, oozing Schwung – not bad for Russian conductor - and in no sense do I hear Gergiev’s application of a Viennese lilt as exterior or applied, The Münchner Philharmoniker maintains a gentle, mellow tone while Gergiev subtly and delicately builds torque without any overt theatricality, even if the woodwinds and horns seem to prominent in the sonic landscape. The close is ethereal. The Scherzo is still intermittently faintly eerie and disturbing, as it should be, but we never approach the neurosis and psychosis conjured up by Manfred Honeck in his recent challenging recording. The sweetness of the violins’ sustained D over the double basses’ pizzicato two and a half minutes into the third movement is ineffable and the conclusion achieves a transcendent serenity. The fourth movement is similarly sunny. Soprano soloist Genia Kühmeier is suitably pure and unaffected, avoiding archness; she must especially be commended for the way in which she enacts the text of her strange, faux-naif song Das himmlische Leben, but she is vocally no match for the likes of Kathleen Battle, Margaret Price, Lucia Popp or Kiri Te Kanawa.

Gergiev carries through his thoroughly consistent, coherent vision of this symphony, abetted by simply exquisite orchestral playing of the greatest delicacy and virtuosity. It’s certainly not the only way to deliver it but I find it wholly satisfying on its own terms.

Ralph Moore

Previous review: Michael Cookson (Recording of the Month)



 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger