Jurowski’s Damn Near Flawless Mahler 4th

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 8

So far Vladimiar Jurowski and the LPO have given us a disappointing Mahler First and an excellent Second. This new version of the Fourth may be the best yet. It has plenty of character, is impressively played, and Jurowski paces each movement just about perfectly. Check out the first movement exposition’s closing theme, with its sudden interruptions in quicker tempo shockingly abrupt, and perfectly together. This is just terrific conducting, all the more persuasive in that it doesn’t bring gratuitous attention to itself.

My only quibble, in fact, concerns the excessively recessed trumpets at the climax of the Adagio–that and the decidedly dry sonics that make up for in textural clarity what they lack in sheer heft. In the finale, Sofia Fomina provides one of the best accounts of the child’s vision of paradise in many a year–pure, sweet, aptly innocent but never coy or excessively cute. I also like the way the microphones pick up Mahler’s imaginative writing for the harp without obvious spotlighting. In sum, there’s so much to enjoy here, and even in a very crowded field this performance is definitely a keeper.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Bernstein (Sony); Fischer (Channel Classics); Levine (RCA)

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