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CD Review

Robert Schumann

Mahler Orchestrations

  • Symphony #1 "Spring" in B Flat Major, Op. 38
  • Symphony #2 in C Major, Op. 61
  • Symphony #3 "Rhenish" in E Flat Major, Op. 97
  • Symphony #4 in D minor, Op. 120
Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig/Riccardo Chailly
Decca 4780037
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The main hype of this set is that it uses Mahler's orchestrations of the symphonies. What difference that makes probably would be noticed by people familiar with the scores who listened with them in hand. I can detect a couple differences but not enough to make this set worth a recommendation.

Chailly directs an almost fierce interpretation with sharp attacks and fast tempi. I can imagine Toscanini liking this. The result robs these of any Romantic feel. Take but two instances. In the "Rhenish" he takes the second movement at 5:06 compared to Giulini's 6:27. Giulini imbues the movement with a rolling flow across the plains while Chailly simply refuses to stop and smell the flowers. Similarly, in the 4th Symphony Chailly takes the first movement at 8:36 to Furtwängler's 11:48. Furtwängler's "Romanze" is Romantic Chailly is involved in a metronome steeple chase.

There is no reason to go on.

Copyright © 2009, Robert Stumpf II