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SACD Review

Gustav Mahler

Symphony #5

London Symphony Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
LSO Live LSO0664 71m Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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Gergiev's Mahler cycle continues apace with a rather curious account of the Fifth Symphony. The pacing is commendable throughout and from the opening bars you sense that something special is going on. Still the second movement suffers from some histrionics although one cannot really fault the London Symphony's playing which is truly superb in every department. Come the Adagietto and Gergiev is slow – almost deathly slow in parts but not as much as the fabled Bernstein. The Finale rings out with joyous abandon and the conclusion is suitably apocalyptic with the dash to the finish line as hair raising as you would expect from this conductor.

Stephen Johnson's programme notes are as always essential reading and those who have been collecting this cycle will certainly want to snap this up as soon as possible. For those with a little more patience I would suggest the Karajan recording on Deutsche Grammophon or Sir Charles Mackerras on EMI Classics for Pleasure which remains a fine benchmark in addition to Gergiev.

Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech