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This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No 6 (LSO/Gergiev) (Audio CD)
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The title of this review is important; it's not my own but that of the LSO's own programmes for Gergiev's cycle of Mahler's symphonies. This is not Mahler's Mahler. Gergiev has stamped his every being on to this work. His finger print (or, more accurately, his clunking fist, to borrow a phrase) is there to hear: rapid, rigid tempi, brash brass and superficial drama. He is one of those conductors that reaches his emotional peak early on and has nothing left. The CD tells us that this was recorded 'live' at the Barbican in November 2007. Having listened to the Radio broadcast and compared it with this recording it is clear that most of it comes from a recording of the rehearsal, rather than the concert performance. There's nothing wrong with this as it removes coughs and other audience noise.
His disregard for the opening's 'ma mon troppo' qualification may sound, to some, as daring and full of vigour, but it's certainly not what Mahler had in mind and it robs it of its sense of a man trudging against the wind and rain: it's too easy. This is a difficult work, and it should sound like a journey that is not at all easy (excepting the interludes that attempt to bring us back to calm earth, but never really do). Two conductors seemed to manage this so well: Horenstein and Barbirolli. It is obvious that Gergiev has a plan for the architecture of the symphony, and of all of Mahler's symphonies, this one is his most 'symphonic', which yields positive results, it is just that the journey falters. The final movement's musical landscape is perhaps the most successful. I was exhausted after listening to it, with that final outburst subsiding in to the abyss so starkly.
In the end, for a first Mahler 6 I would recommend other recordings (Abbado with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2006 is the best of modern recordings) and then have a go at this one. After all, it is rather cheap and the sound recording is superb.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Oct 2010 09:23:45 BDT
Neil Ford says:
The direction for the first movement is not "Ma non troppo", it's "ALLEGRO ENERGICO, ma non troppo".
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2011 00:51:39 GMT
That is K.P. Rogers' point, MA NON TROPPO - ie but not too much. Gergiev is well too much!
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