Being pleasantly surprised with Boulez and his conducting of Mahler's 3rd, the fourth symphony is even better - his no-nonsense straight forward conducting approach works even better here. And the recording (in MC) is terrific - hard to believe it's been done in 44.1 kHz! The sound stage is transparent and wide (again good work from Emil Berliner Studios), orchestral depth is of course not as deep as on some DSD or 96kHz recordings, but all the instruments are placed naturally and the dynamic range is huge. There is a nice air around solo instruments with a solid lower range.
Performance-wise Boulez is concentrated on detail, but not at the expense of the big picture. There are no surprises here, no fluctuations in tempo (as with MTT) and the orchestral playing will keep you on the edge of your seat. Have to say, we still prefer MTT's performance for its intellectual qualities or Karajan for the emotional power. Soprano Juliane Banse is not as boyish as some would prefer, but her voice is light and focused with a rock solid pitch. This time we can wholeheartedly recommend this one as a safe choice.