Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Juliane Banse (soprano), Anna Larsson (contralto)

Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Schweizer Kammerchor, David Zinman

RCA Zinman Mahler Symphonies - 88697513072

(CD - 2 discs)

$19.25

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Presto CD

Decca - 4259702

(Presto CD)

$17.25

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Natalie Dessay (soprano) & Alice Coote (mezzo soprano)

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra & Orféon Donostarria, Paavo Järvi

Clarity of vision and tonal splendour characterise this live performance of Mahler’s epic ‘Resurrection’ Symphony under Paavo Järvi. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra is joined by the Orféon Donostarria and soloists Alice Coote and Natalie Dessay.

Following their Virgin Classics disc of ‘Mahler Movements’, released in 2009, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Paavo Järvi are now heard in a live recording of Mahler’s epic Symphony No 2, ‘Resurrection’.

This epic work comprises five movements and calls upon two soloists, a mezzo soprano, who sings the fourth-movement ‘Urlicht’ (here Alice Coote) and a soprano (Natalie Dessay), who soars over the massed forces in the final movement. The orchestra is joined by the celebrated choir from the Basque country, the Orféon Donostarria, which has been described by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung as “a miracle of sonic glory”.

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (also known as the hr-Sinfonieorchester) became internationally celebrated as a Mahler orchestra in the 1970s and 80s, when Eliahu Inbal was its principal conductor. Now, the Estonian-born Järvi has established a distinctive approach to the Austrian composer’s music. As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung judged after the concert performances of the ‘Resurrection’ in May 2009:

“It was to be expected that Järvi’s Mahler interpretation would not expend its energies on sentimentality or bombast. He is intent on exploring the wealth of contrasts in this symphony, to clarify structures and to crystallise the often innovative overlaying of compositional processes … His artistic understanding guaranteed a thoughtful, subtle interpretation, which was crowned by the contribution of the Orféon Donostarria choir from San Sebastian, splendidly accurate in its intonation and nuanced in its dynamics. Natalie Dessay and Alice Coote, meanwhile, impressed with the inspiration and intensity of their expression.”

The Frankfurter Rundschau felt that “it was as if an angelic lucidity had taken hold of the orchestra,” while the Frankfurter Neue Presse stated that: “The HR Symphony Orchestra again provided an impressive demonstration of its command of monumental material of this kind … Paavo Järvi exercised immaculate control over the huge forces … and cultivated a sound that was both transparent and imbued with intimations of death and resurrection.”

Those observations on Järvi’s vision of Mahler echo the critical response to the CD of ‘Mahler Movements’: “Even dyed-in-the-wool Mahlerians will hear things anew”, proclaimed Journal Frankfurt, while Fono Forum, Germany’s leading magazine in the field of classical recorded music, commented thus on the Adagio fragment from the 10th Symphony: “[Järvi’] shapes Mahler’s … final word atmospherically and sculpturally, convincing us of its unique greatness as a freestanding movement, while also developing its bold formal concept in a way which precludes even a moment’s doubt as to the validity of the fragment.”

Järvi, born in 1962, will become Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris from the 2010-11 season. In addition to his post in Frankfurt, he holds the position of Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and is Artistic Adviser to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

“A vitality and freedom to the playing impresses at every turn...With no fakery or over-nurturing to compromise the blazing integrity and vital belief that Mahler invested in this score, Järvi's performance is a triumph that delivers on every count.” International Record Review, July/August 2010

“Alice Coote glides in with magisterial warmth, the perfect mediator between the human and the divine...the extremes of the finale are this performance's other great asset. Super audio it may not be, but in plain stereo this is certainly state of the art.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2010 ****

Virgin - 6945860

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.50

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Jonathan Nott continues his very successful Mahler series with Symphony No.2. The soloists are Anne Schwanewilms soprano and Lioba Braun contralto. BBC Music Magazine described Nott’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No.9 as “a fine achievement in a towering symphony.”

“Jonathan Nott [reaches] new peaks in his Bamberg cycle...What uplift, rather than crushing weight, in those opening lower-string flourishes...The consoling vision just gets more magical on each reappearance...I doubt if anyone has brought more luminous colours to the soprano's assurance than Anne Schwanewilms” BBC Music Magazine, July 2010 *****

“Nott opts for lucidity rather than histrionics or high seriousness in a steady reading of the epic funeral march that never feels as if he is merely going through the motions...Both [the Andante moderato and the Scherzo] are minutely observed” Gramophone Magazine, July 2010

“[Nott] favours precision, definition and forward momentum over barnstorming tonal weight and dramatic power, and as the symphony presses on, the detail he and his excellent orchestra reveal is remarkable...Anne Schwanewilms adds a touch of vocal luxury to the finale” The Guardian, 22nd July 2010 ***

Building a Library

Featured - May 2010

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Tudor Jonathan Nott Complete Mahler Symphonies - TUDOR7158

(SACD - 2 discs)

$17.50

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Recorded live in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center on November 20, 21, 22 and 25, 2008


Miah Persson (soprano), Christianne Stotijn (mezzo)

Chicago Symphony Chorus & Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

CSO principal conductor Bernard Haitink leads a moving and noble performance of Mahler's immense Second Symphony, continuing his and the orchestra's successful exploration of Mahler's symphonies. The legendary CSO brass are at their finest, with stellar solos and ensemble playing from the woodwinds, strings and percussion.The Chicago Symphony Chorus sounds glorious in Mahler's triumphant finale, singing with sumptuous sound and immaculate diction. A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras.

“This new, white-hot version of the C minor Resurrection, recorded live with the Chicago SO last year, has characteristic nobility, dynamic variety, detail, clarity, lyricism and, in the opening movement, a monumentally slow, shattering climax.” The Observer, 13th December 2009

“Trust Haitink to be masterfully controlled, alert to every dynamic shading or expressive mark.” The Times, 2nd January 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - February 2010

CSO Resound - CSOR901914

(CD - 2 discs)

$28.00

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2

Mahler: Symphony No. 2


Mahler:

Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major - Adagio


"Valery Gergiev's Mahler cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra seems now to have found its identity and this thrilling account of the 'Resurrection' Symphony, heard on the second of two consecutive evening performances, bore many of the hallmarks that have distinguished the series so far: dramatic, driven and occasionally impatient. With the LSO on splendid form, producing a brilliant, bright sound that pushed the Barbican's close acoustic to its limits, Gergiev presided over a drama of despair and redemption of the greatest intensity…The LSO chorus was in glorious voice and egged on more and more by Gergiev they joined with the orchestra to produce an enormous, brilliant and overwhelming sound. The pure, visceral thrill of the final bars, greeted with an enthusiastic ovation from the packed audience, crowned a very fine performance of this great work." MusicalCriticsm.com

"Faced with the London Symphony Orchestra's concentrated glare and attack, I considered cowering under my seat" The Times

“Singing without scores, the London Symphony Chorus are on unambiguous great form. Once Gergiev has the bit between his teeth, the tension hardly lets up…” Gramophone Magazine, March 2009

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

LSO Live Gergiev Mahler Symphonies - LSO0666

(SACD - 2 discs)

$18.50

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Recorded - Kingsway Hall, London, May 1966

“... the new Decca stereo recording has special points of excellence all its own. The most striking thing in the whole performance, for me, is the first movement, in which Solti penetrates to the inner significance of the unusual structure with an insight I have never encountered before. The short movement for contralto is treated sensitiviely. Helen Watts sings beautifully. The vast finale ... usually comes off almost automatically ... Solti builds it up impressively ... chorus, orchestra and soloists leave nothing to be desired ... the stereo recording is one of Decca's best... bringing off perfectly all the different perspectives of the off-stage brass. The early unison calls are certainly "in the far distance"; the marching band music is indeed "scarcely perceptible" and then "getting nearer"; the later fanfares for the four trumpets are electrifyingly "much nearer"; ... we have surely the sound Mahler must have imagined, according to his meticulous indications” Gramophone Magazine

Decca - Originals - 4758501

(CD)

$11.50

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Building a Library

Historic Choice - January 2000

Presto CD

Decca Critics' Choice - 4765762

(Presto CD)

$13.25

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Lisa Milne (soprano) & Birgit Remmert (alto)

Budapest Festival Orchestra & The Hungarian Radio Choir, Iván Fischer

"Total engagement, meaningful articulation and a blend of freedom and intensity" BBC Music Magazine

“…Fischer… rarely pushes too hard. The orchestral sound is lean but not undernourished, allowing for even balance between contesting lines - outstanding in the funereal coda of the first movement - and a clearer than usual interplay between gleaming upper brass and woodwind.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****

“Stylistically, Fischer is right on the money. He has a keen nose for Mahler's particular brand of the ebb and flow of the music, the way it speaks, or rather sings; the bucolic and melodramatic elements of the score are vividly conflicted; and best of all Fischer really breathes in the atmosphere of Mahler's precipitous flight to eternity.
The second theme of the first movement, which Mahler requests enter tentatively, shyly, does exactly that – Fischer's violins are barely audible, a rosy horizon briefly glimpsed through this bleak and forbidding landscape.
Few take this first movement to the edge of possibility that Mahler so clearly envisaged. Fischer does not shirk the often reckless extremes of tempo and dynamics but nor does he throw caution to the four winds in the terrifying stampede to its cliff-hanging climax. Leonard Bernstein is probably still alone in doing just that. But there are many other compensations here: a great sense of logic and line, a second movement whose homespun accenting belongs to a bygone era, likewise the close-harmony trumpets in the trio of the third movement so touchingly redolent of another time, another place.
But the crowning glory is, as it should be, the finale – and it is here that Fischer, his performers and his engineers, really excel. The 'special effects' of Mahler's elaborate Judgement Day fresco have rarely been so magically realised.
The offstage horns are so breathtakingly remote as to suggest the world of the living left far behind. Moments of quite extraordinary stasis precede the sounding of the Dies irae and the hushed entry of the chorus. And come the peroration (resplendent with fabulous horns), Fischer knows that it is with that final crescendo of the chorus and only then that the heavens really open. Impressive.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The sound is distinctive, the music-making personal. … the crowning glory is, as it should be, the finale… The "special effects" of Mahler's elaborate Judgement Day fresco have rarely been so magically realised. The offstage horns are so breathtakingly remote as to suggest the world of the living left far behind. Moments of quite extraordinary stasis precede the sounding of the Dies irae and the hushed entry of the chorus. And come the peroration (resplendent with fabulous horns), Fischer knows that it is with that final crescendo of the chorus and only then that the heavens really open. Impressive.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards 2006

GGramophone Awards 2007

Editor's Choice

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - Awards Issue 2006

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Channel Iván Fischer Mahler Symphonies - CCSSA23506

(SACD - 2 discs)

$21.00

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Debussy: La Mer, etc.

Debussy:

La Mer

Mahler:

Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Eteri Gvazava (soprano), Anna Larsson (contralto)

Orfeon Donostiarra


. . . impressive, though it's the powerful reading of Debussy's seascape that wins over the gigantic Mahler epic. Record Review / Independent (London) / 06 November 2004

DG - E4775082

(CD - 2 discs)

$22.00

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