Review by Luukas October 12, 2015 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
|Mahler's Second Symphony is my own favorite: its spiritual message is always topical. The huge score contains off-stage brass band, organ, two soloists, chorus and orchestra. The world premiere performance in Berlin in 1896 was general success.
This SACD set has been recorded in 2008 at the Barbican, London. Maybe the dry acoustics of the hall wasn't the best space for the work. But the principal engineers (Jonathan Stokes & Ian Watson) has done an impressive work: the crystal clear DSD 5.0 recording - which has been made with Bowell & Wilkins microphones - is simply gorgeous. Unfortunately the rears are used only for the ambience: the distant brass bands are finally really distant, but their sound comes from the main speakers.
Gergiev ignores Mahler's tempo wishes: for example the total time of the third movement is 9'23! Actually the fast tempo really works now: the idea of the "flowing river" sounds realistic here. The first movement (nearly 22 minutes) is powerfully performed - sometimes it is too hurry. The beautiful moments fades away: it looks like Gergiev hasn't enough patience.
The monumental finale (32 minutes) is thrilling experience from darkness to light: the mystical entry of the chorus is magical and the last minutes thrills. But my own "first choice" is still Klaus Tennstedt's approach with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO-0044).
There are also "Adagio" from the Symphony No. 10. I think that the piece is the most beautiful music in the world. Here it has been recorded with the better sound. We haven't yet the multi-channel SACD of the complete symphony (Cooke's reconstruction) and hopefully the LSO Live will release the disc with Blu-ray Audio in the future. We will see...
Summary: good performance with stupendous surround sound
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