Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gustav Mahler, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Métropolitan Du Grand Montréal|
Listen to Samples
A Young, Intensely Musical Conductor Arrives
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though this recording of Mahler's 4th Symphony is now five years old it is catching up with the breakneck pace that the young and intensely musical conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin continues on his ascent into the realm of important symphony conductors (he is also a highly proficient pianist). Conducting the Orchestre Métropolitan Du Grand Montréal here, in fine collaboration with the excellent soprano Karina Gauvin in the final movement, Nézet-Séguin suggests that he has some solid ideas about preparing and conducting the intricate scores of Gustav Mahler. The performance is full of light and air and with exceptional attention to detail without losing the overall canvas of each movement. Nézet-Séguin can play with a phrase, a dynamic, a tempo and an affection for caressing ritards - all of which puts his stamp on this performance without distracting from Mahler's intentions.
What is missing from this CD is the listener's ability to actually SEE Nézet-Séguin conduct! He appears this week as guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, opening a program with Ravel's 'La Valse' to introduce a radiant performance of the Ravel Piano Concerto In G with Martha Argerich, followed by Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony. His podium style is choreographic and expressive and he obviously has both the orchestra and the audience in his hand. Standing before an orchestra prepared to welcome Gustavo Dudamel as Conductor, he is able to create huge sounds with clarity and delicacy of phrasing at every turn. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, already making audiences cheer around the globe, is likely to become one of our more sought after conductors. And this 3 year old recording of the Mahler 4th is a fine introduction to his talents. Grady Harp, March 09"
Involved, Youthful Mahler 4 Sym from the Other Montreal Band
Dan Fee | Berkeley, CA USA | 06/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of the other Montreal orchestra, loosely translated into English as the Montreal City Orchestra. Not a very glamorous name, but don't let that fool you. I first heard them on CD as the orchestra accompanying the tremendous recorded performances of the Brahms piano concertos that the equally tremendously ready Anton Kuerti gives us in his set on Canadian label, Analekta. There, Joseph Rescigno leads.
My all-time fav of Mahler 4 has long been the utterly dark and shadowy and Brothers Grimm-like fairy tale performance by the late, great Jascha Horenstein - whom I nominate (along with the late, great Wyn Morris) as necessarily on the top five list of astounding Mahler conductors on CD/SACD. There the soprano in the last movement is Margaret Price, having a very good day, along with conductor and orchestra. I've read other comments that the sound is not all that great, but it is perfectly serviceable and the performance values sweep all else aside. Really. Other Mahler 4's that still nourish ear, mind, and heart must include Vienna, with Maazel leading, and Kathleen Battle singing; plus the old Philharmonia in its heyday, led by Otto Klemperer, and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf singing.
Plus this new one led by Nezet-Seguin with Canadian Karina Gauvin singing.
Now this performance is not an old man's, like Horenstein or Klemperer. It captures youthful joy and melancholy, dappled with dark inklings of mortality; but it is not a deep, autumnal love affair with life, at the end of life. This youngish conductor is not Mahler looking back, but rather Mahler looking out and Mahler looking forward. Its fresh vigor is happy to be thinking and feeling and doing, only to be pierced by recurring, sudden premonitions of earthly and transmuted transience that reach almost Buddhist intensities of poignant centeredness. Magical. Mystical.
The entire band has quite a spring in their musical steps under their music director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin. He is something of a young lion among conductors now working before us. Perhaps we are not yet familiar enough with his gifts in USA to realize how nearly often we are muddling around down south of the border while Montreal listens to his bright and heart-felt genius. Nezet-Seguin is clearly in the same league as Franz Welser-Most who is now helming Cleveland. He clearly has a fine rapport with this other Montreal orchestra, and they too sound like a more youthful band than we often hear in this music. No department of this orchestra is failing to pay attention, and nobody is lacking, technically.
The touches of old Europe that do sound out here derive mostly from the gracious acoustic of the church in which the recording was made. Full frequency. Generous resonance, but exquisitely stopping short of blur and wobble and haze. It sounds like an old world venue, not a new world hall of steel and glass and colder architectural drama. The church of St. Ferdinand de Fabreville brings something ineffable to this music, in this performance. All to the good, as I hear it. The venue allows the youthful physicalities of all involved in this performance to sing right out without losing complete touch with the older generations from which such youth always emerges. Yannick Nezet-Seguin is his own man, but somehow he measures up, equal to the likes of Horenstein or Klemperer.
By the time we reach the final song movement, one cannot avoid worrying how well Karina Gauvin will stand up to her recorded soprano colleagues. She is rising to sing amid some pretty stiff world-class soprano competition. Not to worry. She brings her matching musical gifts to bear, and completes this outstanding reading with nary a false musical step. Her basic tone is apt to the music - all silver when it needs to be, all present, capable of the vocal equivalents of just those dark inklings of mortality that help make this performance something special, even while it remains youthful. Ms. Gauvin is alert to the Wunderhorn poem that Mahler has set for the text. In passing phrases she almost has a lieder-like way with words, although not to the point of cuteness or exaggeration. She can slow her tempo while floating a phrase, and it sounds like time is stretching and stopping, just ever so, instead of sounding like she is pulling taffy at the composer's expense. Brava.
Lotsa stars, then, for this one. Add it to the keeper shelf, right beside Maazel/Battle, Horenstein/Price, and Klemperer/Scwarzkopf. If you get a chance to hear this orchestra live, don't pass up that ticket, especially if Nezet-Seguin is leading."
Skillful Mahler from an up-and-coming conductor
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 12/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Within the past few months the French-Canadian conductor Nezet-Seguin, not yet thirty, has been appointed to the London Philharmonic. that's quite a leap from Montral's second-string orchestra, so I was quite curious about this Mahler fourth. It's very well recorded, with crystal-clear textures, helping to highlight Nezet-Seguin's talent for deft balances. He's a smooth, skillful organizer of Mahler's overalpping, intertwined lnstrumental lines. Overall, the performance is quite smmoth and polished.
Unfortunately, the prevailing suaveness and cheeriness get tiresome after a while. James Levine also conducted a sunny Fourth (RCA), but it had wieght and authority as well. If you are going to take Mahler entirely out of the shadows, you must compensate with fresh insights. Nezet-Seguin is very musical, and he does have ideas. But I couldn't escape the sense that this was very monochromatic musicmaking. the slow movement, taken fairly fast, is positively breezy, but the devil's fiddle in the preceding movement wasn't remotely eerie, either. The soprano, Karina Guavin, has a lovely rasp of the final movement, but her voice is rather dark and heavy to be portraying a naive child. The most surprising thing in the whole performance are the explosive interludes in the finale.
All in all, there are many signs of promise, but Nezet-Seguin hasn't found a complete Mahler style yet."