One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
55,028 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements



TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


FOGHORN Classics


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

 


Obtain 10% discount

 


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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616
jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 5
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding
rec. 2016, Berwaldhallen, Stockholm
HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902366 [73:23]

I’m not sure whether Harding and the Swedish RSO are planning a complete Mahler cycle: if so this is its second instalment after their (I thought) wonderful No. 9 (review). Either way, I pounced on this disc when it first arrived but, in the event, found it took a while to ignite.

The opening trumpet solo is very fine, moving with plenty of light and shade, but those two great fortissimo gasps of breath from the orchestra didn’t sock me between the eyes in the way that the greatest performances do. Indeed, I found that to be something of a problem through both the opening movements. No issue with colour: the strings are beautifully shaded in the funeral march, and the trumpets sound magnificent on the first appearance of the great chorale theme in the second movement. Harding prepares that climax well, highlighting (no doubt with the help of the HM engineers) the brass while also pulling away the other instruments to give them space. On the whole though, both movements feel like they are holding something back, as though unwilling to give all they could and slightly lacking in teeth. Both sound perfectly fine, but need to be more red in tooth and claw.

Things really up with the Scherzo, however. The horns of the opening positively bray, and the whole movement has an in-your-face quality missing from Part One. There is light and shade aplenty, as well. The opening section has a bucolic swing that is really infectious and utterly unlike the preceding movement, which is, of course, exactly what this schizophrenic work is supposed to be. The waltz theme at 2:40 is wonderfully schmaltzy at 2:40, and the strings manage to sound both ghostly at 7:12 and wryly knowing at 10:30, thought the tutti climax sounds just a little rushed.

The Adagietto doesn’t hang around, which is no bad thing in this music. It avoids gloop while retaining delicacy in the outer sections and sensual passion in its middle. The finale is shot through with sunlight, both in mood and the character of its playing, with some particularly delightful wind solos. Harding cheekily speeds up a little before the final unveiling of the brass chorale, but this didn’t bother me, and the coda dissolves into a twinkle of laughter.

So it’s a very good Mahler 5, but not quite up there with the best, which include Abbado and Rattle in Berlin and, of course, Bernstein in Vienna. Still, it’s worth hearing, and if it is the next part of a cycle then it still makes me excited for the next instalment. The recorded sound is absolutely first rate.

Simon Thompson

Previous review: Ralph Moore



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

March


piano music Vol 4


Charpentier


Songs of Love and Sorrow


Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
Cello Concerto


The female in Music

 

February

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor