Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Experiencing technical difficulties
Paul Bubny | Maplewood, NJ United States | 07/30/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Benjamin Zander has a lot to tell us about Mahler, but frequently he's said it better in the "illustrated lecture" bonus CDs that accompany his Telarc releases than in the actual performances. Here (unlike in the upcoming Telarc remake with the Philharmonia), the music is all there is, and Zander's conception is magnificent. Like Thomas Sanderling and few others, he presents the Sixth as a stark, universal tragedy without getting all histrionic. We're simultaneously aware that this is not only Mahler's grimmest work (by nature of its uncompromising conclusion), but also the most classically formal of his symphonies.Zander's work on the podium here is so persuasive that I generally focus on the music, not the music-making--but every now and then, I'm forcibly reminded that the orchestra he led at the 1994 concert which yielded this CD was semi-professional. The musicians play with conviction, but also with a degree of caution (when you're not the Vienna Philharmonic, you don't belt it out as though you are) and a thinness of tone that undermine the power of this score. They're matched sonically by a close-up recording which manages to be quite clear except when it is quite dim (although the hammer-blows--all three of them!--are the most effective I've heard on CD or LP). I'm reminded of the Jascha Horenstein set with the Stockholm Philharmonic (available long ago on Unicorn-Kanchana) in which another stellar performance, not to mention Mahler's music, was similarly blunted by technical (i.e., instrumental and sonic) shortcomings. Actually, the Horenstein set may have an advantage here--as many flubs as they made, the Stockholm orchestra at least had some meat on their bones, tonally speaking.Here's hoping that Zander's new Telarc recording corrects the technical flaws while giving us a performance that's every bit as special as what we get here."