Top positive review
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Rattle's is a wonderful colourful Mahler's First full of subtlety and beauty, charm and depth
on 19 May 2014
I think that this recording of Mahler's First Symphony played live by the CBSO under Simon Rattle in 1991 has been unfairly treated. People complain that it is not exciting enough and that the first two movements arent spontaneous sounding.I disagree with all these comments. I really like this performance very much and feel that Rattle brings something new to this Titanic symphony. In the first movement Rattle evokes the awakening of Nature with beauty that makes one think of what Karajan's performance of this Symphony may have been like.The Wayfarer theme is absolutely beautifully characterised (compare this to Bertini's and Zinman's bland and uninteresting way with this part);and its expertly done how Rattle gradually brings more and more light to the movement until the exciting burst of sunshine towards the end of the movement. The Second movement is excellent in that Rattle makes it sound different and fresh (compared with Bertini's and Zinman's pathetic tedious performances of the Second Movement. Even in Kubelik's otherwise great 1979 live account of this Symphony,he fails to make the Second Movement sound at all exciting or new). In the Third Movement Rattle creates an atmosphere of darkness and sadness with a reminiscence of beauty in the middle of the music. Rattle is on top form again with the onslaught of the Fourth movement where a terrible battle between suicidal despair and hope ends eventually in reclaimed hope and victory with songs of sadness and yearning for the past along the way. The ending is fabulously joyful. I really love Mahler's Titan Symphony number 1 and love this recording by Simon Rattle.