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SACD Review

Gustav Mahler

Symphony #2 "Resurrection"

Anne Scwanewilms, soprano
Lioba Braun, alto
Bamberg Symphony Choir & Orchestra/Jonathan Nott
Tudor 7158 84m Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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Jonathan Nott has already established himself as one of the finest Mahler conductors around and his progressing cycle of the symphonies on Tudor continues to impress with this latest version of the "Resurrection", perhaps one of the most difficult to bring off.

However he is definitely not overawed by such luminaries in this great symphony (Klemperer, Tennstedt and Bernstein come to mind) as you can sense that Nott is his own man from the confidence and assuredness which permeate the sounds of the first movement. I also warmed to the gentle pacing of the Allegro moderato which has some exquisite playing by the much improved Bamberg strings.

The third movement perhaps lacks a bit of the unerring tension which one finds in Klemperer's famous EMI recording but the ravishing "Urlicht" is as sensitive as they come with Schwanewilms and Braun on top form. The Finale is a bit of a mixed bag but the thrilling SACD sound is really put to the test in the part where the Judgment Day is recreated with the trumpets really coming from the four corners of the Earth! For that effect alone, the set is worth its money. Detailed notes and fine presentation round off a most satisfying new Mahler recording which surely deserves serious investigation.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.