Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphony No. 1
Carlos Païta, cond; Royal PO
LODIA 776 (53:30)
This 1977 Mahler First from Carlos Païta is beautifully played and well conducted. The sonics are both spacious and clear, avoiding an ambient gooshy sound. Païta has everything right in terms of tempos, tempo relationships, phrasing, and accents: The first movement outburst is well played despite a bit of cheating from the horns in their upward arpeggios, and Païta even introduces a surprising moment of ritard before
the final coda. The second movement, however, is where the performance begins to take off, the jaunty rhythms perfectly judged and the orchestral execution near-perfect. And once again, Païta’s interpretation is marked as individual by his introduction of slight ritards, here in the central or trio section. Although the mock-serious “Frère Jacques” funeral march has the correct tempo, I felt that it lacked something in feeling, yet Païta has a unique and lovely way of leading into the woodwind melody in the major that I’ve never heard duplicated in any other version, and the ending of the movement has an unusual delicacy about it.
The fourth movement explodes as one would expect and, once again, Païta introduces some interesting and unusual phrasing. No doubt about it, he was not a cookie-cutter conductor; he has his own feelings about this music, and the experience is an interesting one, although in the grand finale (so to speak) I felt that his ritards were a bit overdone and the excitement lacking. However, if you are looking for a Mahler First that is out of the norm, lacking a bit of punch at times but fascinating to hear for its phrasing, you will want to add this to your collection.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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