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SACD Review

Gustav Mahler

LSO Live SACD 660

Symphony #3

Anna Larsson, soprano
Tiffin Boys Choir
Ladies of the London Symphony Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
LSO Live LSO0660 92m 2SACDs Hybrid Multichannel
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe Find it at HBDirect Find it at JPC
LSO Live SACD 662

Symphony #4

Laura Claycomb, soprano
London Symphony Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
LSO Live LSO0662 54m Hybrid Multichannel SACD
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe Find it at HBDirect Find it at JPC

Gergiev's Mahler cycle has divided opinion writers and critics alike but listening to these two symphonies afresh has proved to be an extremely rewarding experience. In the gargantuan Third, Gergiev sets a brisk tempo at the opening which he keeps throughout the symphony, providing some extremely exciting moments especially in the conclusion to the First Movement. The middle movements are also willingly done, in some ways recalling the expressive intuition of Kubelík (DG) or Solti (LSO/Decca 1965) whose Thirds are similarly expansive.

The kernel of this work is its Finale which is a positive soul-searching experience and Gergiev finds much that is appropriate here although in the end the work curiously lacks that particular "oomph". He does rather better in the Fourth Symphony which alongside Jonathan Nott's recent performance on Tudor positively glows with energy. The "Ruhevoll" is perhaps slightly over sugary in some places but otherwise the work positively stands out as a supreme masterpiece.

Both Laura Claycomb and Anna Larsson are extremely accomplished soloists and the notes provided in both discs are exhaustively detailed. I am extremely keen to continue exploring Gergiev's Mahler sound world which promises a hair-raising journey across well travelled but sometimes misunderstood terrain.

Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech

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