Your guide to classical music online

A Very Beautiful New Mahler 4th From PentaTone

David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

This is a lovely performance–sensitive, very well played, shapely and effortless. Conductor Marc Albrecht makes his points without exaggeration, revealing personal touches in his care for proper observance of Mahler’s dynamics and his concern for textural clarity. Yet the big climaxes in the first movement and Adagio have plenty of impact, and in soprano Elizabeth Watts we have one of the best singers set loose on the tricky finale in many a moon. Anyone familiar with her recent stunning A. Scarlatti recital for Harmonia Mundi will already know what a versatile and vocally alluring treasure she is turning out to be.

This being Mahler, of course, there will always be a criticism here and there. The trio sections of the scherzo might just be a touch too relaxed, and Albrecht’s fondness for portamento could well strike some listeners as excessive, particularly in the Adagio, but these are quibbles. I am less happy with the sonics, which are quite impressive when the music is loud, but lack body at lower dynamic levels, even with the substantial boost in the volume. Still, this small reservation could very easily be a non-issue on your own sound system.

Holland being “Mahler central” some of the idiomatic response to the music was to be expected, but that doesn’t do anything to diminish Albrecht’s sympathetic handling of the score overall. A winner.

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Bernstein (Sony); Previn (EMI); Fischer (Channel Classics)

  • Record Label: PentaTone - 5186 487
  • Medium: SACD

Search Music Reviews

Search Sponsor

  • Insider Reviews only
  • Click here for Search Tips

Visit Our Merchandise Store

Visit Store
  • Tanglewood On Parade: Celebrating Seiji!
    This year’s Tanglewood on Parade, a much-anticipated tradition that dates to 1940, will celebrate the life and legacy of the BSO’s beloved Music Director Laureate,
  • PARMA Recordings Acquires Albany Records
    April 24, 2024—GRAMMY®-winning production house PARMA Recordings announced today its acquisition of Albany Records. The classical label is welcomed as a new member of the
  • Festival Of The Sound Announces Summer Program
    Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada—The Festival of the Sound  is celebrating big this summer with an incredible line-up of classical, jazz and choral music, and much