43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Abbado at his best,
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.3 (Audio CD)
Abbado's first recording of Mahler 3 (with the VPO) is superb in every way but this live recording with the Berliners is just as indispensable.
It takes a few minutes to get used to the odd acoustic but the opening horns signal something pretty special. In the first movement the timpani are more prominent than usual, giving the music a darker hue. As a so-called Wunderhorn symphony one might expect it to be sunnier here but then Abbado finds new things throughout.
Anna Larsson is fine in her solo (not a match for the more noble, creamier Jessye Norman on the VPO set) and as the last movement begins one is completely seduced by the music. As a movement it can so easily sag but here it unfolds unerringly, beautifully paced. The climax may not expand quite so gloriously as before but the frisson is there. I doubt whether there was a dry eye in the Festival Hall at the end and the prolonged applause speaks for itself.
This is a work that has been lucky on record and CD; I would certainly place this performance alongside the pioneering Horenstein and Abbado's VPO recordings as the ones to have. And, of course, it is a tribute to Abbado, a champion of Mahler's music throughout his career and surely one of the finest Mahlerians about today.