Mahler

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral Reviews -

Sym­phony No. 3

Anna Lars­son (con­tralto); Düs­sel­dorf Sym­phony Orches­tra/ádám Fis­cher Avi 8553399 95:51 mins (2 discs) Mag­is­te­rial power in som­bre and ra­di­ant marches, the sub­tlest ru­bato in the old-new min­uet which fol­lows, es­tab­lish Ádám (not to be con­fused with younger brother Iván) Fis­cher as one of the great­est liv­ing Mahler con­duc­tors. What he does with the slow-move­ment fi­nale may not be to all tastes, but it’s bold. ★e at­tempts to em­u­late the gut tim­bre of Mahler’s time, with less vi­brato, on metal strings in a less ex­treme way than rel­a­tive lightweight Roger Nor­ring­ton. That makes for a bolder kind of no­bil­ity as the great melodic line un­folds at first – af­ter all, when your play­ers aren’t those of the Vi­enna or Ber­lin Phil­har­mon­ics, there’s no point try­ing to beat them at their own game – but the cli­maxes are uniquely pow­er­ful, and Fis­cher saves the big­gest for the last, just be­fore the fi­nal vic­tory parade.

Both here and in the wild surges of the for­est beasts in the cen­tral scherzo, there’s a live ex­cite­ment that can’t be achieved at the same pitch in the record­ing stu­dio. The posthorn solo in the heart of the wood is supremely artis­tic (from Frank Lude­mann), forth­right fu­ne­real trom­bone in the first move­ment like­wise (the col­lec­tive brass are very im­pres­sive in­deed, world-class). The char­ac­ter­ful wood­wind so­los in­clude some heart­break­ingly beau­ti­ful oboe playing. Only Anna Lars­son, so of­ten the con­tralto of choice for Ni­et­zsche’s ‘Mid­night Song’, has lost some of the steadi­ness of yore, but she goes with Fis­cher’s evoca­tive mean­ing.

En­gi­neer­ing ren­ders the rain­bow colours of this most com­pre­hen­sive of Mahler sym­phonies to per­fec­tion. David Nice PER­FOR­MANCE

RECORD­ING

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