After quibbling over a single tempo choice in the finale, the reviewer below chides the conductor for not following Mahler's score to the letter. This seems absurd after forty years of free interpretation from great musicians like Bernstein, Levine, Karajan, and Abbado. (It would also help if he got the name DePreist right.) Now 71, DePreist has made an honorable career for himself, largely outside major music centers (this CD was a studio production following his belated London debut in 2006), without trading in on the fact that he is black and the newphew of the great Marian Anderson. He broke color barriers the way Marin Alsop is breaking sexist barriers. Curiously, oth have made recent Mahler Fifths with the LSO.
DePreist's interpretation is surprising. It's quite musical and sensitively phrased, but at the same time it strongly goes against the grain by staying on the cool side of apocalyptic--melodrama is completely absent, and the force of Mahler's music isn't buttressed by "personality" conducting. At first I thought I was hearing a somewhat faceless run-through of a score that demands an apocalyptic approach, but then I adjsuted. I began to find DePreist's lack of ego refreshing. There's no lack of power in the LSO's playing, and although the engineering is a trifle distant and murky, plenty of detail emerges.
There's more than one way to hold a listener's attention, and DePreist does it by sensitive phrasing form bar to bar. The Gramophone accuses him of stop-go tactics, but I don't hear that. They also claim that he reins in the music's emotions too tightly, but Mahler doesn't have to sound hysterical and unbuttoned. He has to sound varied, multi-faceted, and vital. DePreist's Mahler Fifth is all of those things, and I liked it form beginning to end. I will be more on the looout for his work on ecords.