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Mahler: Symphony 9

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Product details

  • Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Kurt Sanderling
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (19 Feb 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BBC Radio Classics
  • ASIN: B000024K15
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,081 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Sep 2014
Unusual amongst musicians fleeing Hitler’s Germany, the conductor Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011) travelled east to the Soviet Union in 1936. It must have been a difficult, even dangerous, time for a German in that country during the Great Patriotic War. However, he worked alongside Mravinsky at the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942-60 before returning to East Germany to rebuild the Berlin Symphony Orchestra over the period 1960-77 and also took charge of the Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra between 1964-67.

Sanderling recorded Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Berlin orchestra in 1979 and with the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1992. Sandwiched between the two was this recording with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Founded in 1934 as the BBC Northern Orchestra, it changed its name to the BBC Philharmonic in 1982, the year of Sanderling’s recording. The 1996 digital remastering, by John Hunt of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop [shades of Dr Who], is excellent.

Sanderling’s performance is expansive, taking 78.01, but not self-consciously so, and he obtains a staggering performance from an orchestra that could not be imagined being in the same league as orchestras from Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam or North America. What stands out is the conductor’s ability to shape incrementally the enormous work whilst being attentive to every demand of the composer’s complex orchestration. Sanderling grounds the performance in the initial Andante, which moves from its mysterious opening, through its contrasting emotions, to the funeral march and its reflective ending. These beautiful judged contrasts are continued in the subsequent movements without the music at any time becoming austere.
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