Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Schwarz|
Mahler: Symphony No. 6 In A Minor
Schwarz's Mahler Sixth
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm far from an expert on Mahler's symphonies and I've been intimidated more often than not by those who are, or who fancy they are. But I know what I like and even, sometimes, why. This performance of Mahler's Sixth -- part of a complete series of Schwarz recordings that now includes Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7 & 9 -- is probably more straightforward than some might like. I, on the other hand, applaud Gerard Schwarz's mostly non-neurotic traversal of this symphony that has quite enough drama without the superimposed taffy-pulling that some conductors indulge in. This is not to say that Schwarz ignores Mahler's markings; indeed, as I follow with the score I am quite satisfied with his choices in that regard. What at first may seem direct and uninflected is heard, on close listening, to be subtly nuanced. The recorded sound is pretty clear and translucent, another plus in my opinion. There is one oddity: Schwarz opts to place the Andante before the Scherzo -- Mahler was of several minds about the order of the inner movements -- while Barbara Heninger's booklet notes discuss the symphony as if it had been played with the Scherzo before the Andante. A minor point, but mildly confusing at first. For those who care about such things, Schwarz uses three hammer strokes in the finale. This is a relatively fast performance. Timings of the individual movements:
II. 15'36" (Andante)
III. 13'00" (Scherzo)
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic plays very well in this performance. I was particularly struck by the crispness of string attacks, especially in the Finale; yet the strings are silken in a beautifully characterized Andante. Kudos to the principal horn there, too. Instrumental color is nicely characterized throughout.
There are marvelous Sixths out there -- among them Barbirolli, Zander, Tilson Thomas, Horenstein, Bernstein, Gergiev, Haitink -- but although it may not be the last word on the work, this one deserves its place on the Mahlerian's shelf.