A good Fifth, a disappointing Ninth, a great Tenth
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to recommend a box set when the best thing in it lasts only 28 min., but Tennstedt's performance of the Adagio from the Mahler Tenth is exceptional by any standard. He gets playing of great intensity from the London Phil, with very close-up miking to add to the intensity. As always in his conducting, Tennstedt is spontaneous about rhythm and phrasing, and here he feels very deeply, bringing out not just the tragedy of this great movement but its inner struggle and excitement. I found it hard to believe that this reading was 4 or 5 min. slower than usual, it made such a dramatic impact.
Unfortunately, there's a disappointing Ninth Sym. here, one of the rare failures in Tennstedt's cycle. The opening movement in particular seems to lack rhythmic vitality, and despite many lovely touches along the way, a good-enough Ninth isn't good enough among all the great ones. The set is filled out with a good Fifth Sym., but it's not as fine as his remake with the Chicago Sym. In all, I hope EMI gives us the Adagio form the Tenth in the cheap two-fer already available in England, but it comes with the Ninth, too."