Gustav Mahler composed his Fifth Symphony in the summers of 1901 and 1902 whilst staying at Wörthesee
in the Austrian Alps, and the influence of nature around him is unquestionable, particularly in the third
movement. Elsewhere, Mahler’s personal life is reflected in the themes of death, marital love and
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Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor
II. Sturmisch bewegt, mit grosster Vehemenz
21st June 2008
“The Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, one-time leader of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, has an instrumentalist's inside view of the music, allowing you to marvel at the composer's contrapuntal mastery with renewed admiration. There is also a sweep to the performance, and plenty of energy, with the Adagietto played as a tender intermezzo rather than as a scene-grabbing indulgence.
The whole orchestra plays magnificently, but it would be remiss not to commend the firmly focused solo trumpet and subtly inflected obbligato horn.”
5th July 2008
“This performance has a sense of purpose and excitement. Van Zweden, a former leader of the Concertgebouw, segues smoothly between moods, and though he almost lets the finale's bombast get the better of him, he delivers an account that is absorbing right into the tumultuous applause.”
6th June 2008
“This performance of Mahler's Fifth Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall in London in January was enthusiastically reviewed; issued now on the London Philharmonic's own label it seems much more ordinary, and no match for a number of the accounts already in the catalogue...Though the wonderfully fine-grained playing of the LPO, spotlighted in the Adagietto, shows again that [Van Zweden] is a conductor who knows what he wants and how to get it, the lack of tension or any sense of real drama in this symphony is frequently troubling - one can get away with a subdued account of the first movement, for instance, but only if something much more muscular and assertive is provided in the second - however likable much of Van Zweden's approach is.”
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