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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 March 2014
Stewart Crowe's review is so comprehensive and persuasive that I would be ashamed even to try to emulate it - nor could I add anything of any use to what he has already said, so rather than try, I'll merely urge you to acquire this extraordinary recording - extraordinary both sonically and aesthetically.

The wonder is that the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR can escape the baleful diktats of the dreaded Sir Roger of Annoyingtone to play with such fervour and brilliance - with full vibrato, too! Just a word more to endorse Mr Crowe's praise for the quality of the orchestral playing, especially the brass. Presumably they were simply ecstatic to be let off the HIPpity leash and do what a symphony orchestra is meant to: thrill the listener with the depth, amplitude and brilliance of their sonorities.

It seems that only the Maestro's early demise enabled a proper reassessment of his stellar gifts; certainly for every rare miscalculation I can cite ten blazing successes - because he was an artist unafraid to take risks rather than churn out yet another safe interpretation.

A word of commendation for the singers involved is appropriate here: Waltraud Meier has never had the most lustrous tone - there is always something a bit gritty or curdled in her sound compared with smoother, rounder voiced exponents of the sibylline declamation required of the mezzo-soprano in the fourth movement - but she is here very effective and expressive. The bim-bam gang are nicely distanced and properly "keck", the boys winsome, innocent and animated without sounding aggressive.

A last word regarding the final movement, which is sublime. All true Mahlerians will want this.
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