Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
"The power of this performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Valery Gergiev, lies in the magical balance achieved between its extreme explosions of emotion and the underlying cohesiveness of Mahler's expansive structure. Gergiev handles equally well the heady flights of impulsive neurosis as he does the underlying classical stability of the symphony. So the naïve tenderness of the second movement, the mischievous moods of the scherzo, and the sublime religiosity of the short Urlicht setting (hauntingly sung by mezzo soprano Zlata Bulycheva) are sharply delineated cameos between the magnificence of the
mammoth first and last movements. The finale reaches cathartic heights, the LSO Chorus imbuing the moment with an awesome presence." -- The Scotsman, Edinburgh
Mahler's Second Symphony is so colorful and so well stage-managed that it's possible to find great performances by conductors who aren't specialists in this repertoire. For better or worse, Mahler has become "common coin". Such is the case with Levi's performance listed above: it's so well played and recorded that it disarms criticism, though listeners who regard "authentic" Mahler as more heavily inflected when it comes to issues such as tempo and phrasing may never be won over. Similarly, this is a very exciting new recording from Valery Gergiev and the LSO, an orchestra that already has done well by this symphony under both Bernstein (Sony) and Solti (Decca). Some listeners might find it a touch undercharacterized, but I don't think so.
Gergiev's emphasis on keeping things moving by no means results in a lack of atmosphere. The first-movement coda, for example, is one of the creepiest on disc thanks to the menacing presence of the soft percussion. His Andante flows elegantly, and never stiffly. The scherzo contains one of two significant miscalculations: its trio section has little Romantic charm at an excessively swift tempo, and the trumpets are insufficiently prominent. The other miscalculation concerns Gergiev's fondness for wobbly-voiced Slavic singers, particularly mezzo-soprano Zlata Bulycheva, whose German pronunciation is strange and whose tone is singularly unappealing. So, for that matter, is Elena Mosuc's fragile soprano.
On the plus side, Gergiev's relatively swift tempo for the choral episodes gives the second half of the finale an extra fluidity and coherence, even as it slights some the music's moments of "mystical" stillness. The very grand final pages have tremendous impact, with the bells and tam-tams particularly well captured, even if the organ is less prominent in the mix than it might be. The coupled Adagio from the Tenth Symphony is nothing special; swift and somewhat slick, with an underplayed climax, but it's certainly not awful. The rating, however, is based entirely on the Second Symphony. Despite the caveats mentioned above, this really is a very appealing performance, and even in a crowded field I can easily imagine it giving Mahlerians a good deal of pleasure.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 2 in C minor "Resurrection" by Gustav Mahler
Elena Mosuc (Soprano),
Zlata Bulycheva (Mezzo Soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1888/1896; Germany
Date of Recording: 04/2008
Venue: Live Barbican, London, England
Length: 77 Minutes 0 Secs.
Featured Sound Samples
Symphony no 2 "Resurrection": I. Allegro maestoso
Symphony no 2 "Resurrection": II. Andante moderato
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