Another Pointless Mahler Second

Review by: David Hurwitz

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Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 8

This is a sad review to have to write. There was a time when a new recording of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony was an event, something to be celebrated. Not now. Gergiev is, at best, a patchy Mahler conductor, but he directed a fine No. 2 with the LSO a few years ago. Now, however, with orchestras running their own labels, conductors can trot around the globe conducting their repertoire du jour, and the same stuff will get released over and over, good or bad. No one pays any attention to what the other guy may already have done.

The result, as here, is a recording that reflects no special effort on the part of the artists–no consciousness of the fact that they are setting down an interpretation for posterity and so must work extra hard to get it right. It’s just another subscription night’s concert, and what happens, happens. And so we have this lackluster performance, one that probably provided a nice time for the audience, but one which has no business being preserved on disc.

The playing of the Munich Philharmonic isn’t bad, although far from perfect (there’s a particularly obvious missed cymbal crash at the climax of the first movement). Whereas Gergiev’s generally swift tempos sounded urgent in London, here they come across as routine. The big moments in the scherzo and finale lack power, and the concluding chorus is a letdown. Good sonics, but who cares? This is what happens when the inmates take over running the asylum.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Fischer (Channel Classics); Bernstein (DG)


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