Mahler

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral -

Sym­phony No. 5

Swedish Ra­dio Sym­phony Orches­tra/ Daniel Hard­ing

Har­mo­nia Mundi HMM 902366

73:23 mins

Not ev­ery­one will take to

Daniel Hard­ing’s mostly leisurely, stud­ied ap­proach to Mahler’s

Fifth – I don’t, en­tirely – but what spec­tac­u­lar play­ing through­out! Who knew the Swedish Ra­dio Sym­phony Orches­tra, of which he is prin­ci­pal con­duc­tor, could be quite as elec­tri­fy­ing as this? Horns and trum­pets are paramount, as they have to be in this sym­phony, and though the fu­neral march proper of the first move­ment doesn’t flow nat­u­rally as it should, the wel­ters in be­tween are stun­ning, the ul­ti­mate cli­max over­whelm­ing, a demon­stra­tion-qual­ity mo­ment like the one at the cul­mi­na­tion of the last fu­gal melt­down in the fi­nale.

The strings are world-class, too, nu­anced and ca­pa­ble of pow­er­ful ac­cents; the Adagi­etto starts with lit­tle fuss com­pared to Hard­ing’s gam­bits else­where, though the re­turn to base slows down sub­stan­tially. It’s im­pos­si­ble, too, to hear the Scherzo as Mahler’s in­tended ‘world with­out grav­ity’ – the pull is dis­tinctly earth­ward, though the slower waltz works well, with some nice, Vi­en­nese-y string por­ta­men­tos and char­ac­ter­ful pizzi­cato. The horn ob­bli­gato res­onates across a chasm as the dance comes to a stand­still, the twi­light zones are beau­ti­fully etched and the fi­nal stam­pede thrilling. David Nice

PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★

RECORD­ING ★★★★★

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