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Mahler: Symphony No. 1 / Vanska, Minnesota Orchestra

Mahler / Minnesota Orchestra / Vanska
Release Date: 08/02/2019 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 2346  
Composer:  Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The shimmering string harmonics at the opening of Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony bring to mind the suspended breath of spring, and will have signaled even to the very first audiences that a new symphonic era was being ushered in. Soon enough the composer introduces some of the elements that would become key components of his musical language: sounds of nature (here cuckoo calls) are combined with quasi-militaristic fanfares and ‘high-art’ chromatic wanderings in cellos, as if to illustrate Mahler’s view of the symphony as an all-embracing art form. The symphony, which the composer originally gave the subtitle ‘Titan’, borrows extensively from the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. But Mahler also incorporates elements of Moravian Read more popular music (in the second movement) and – in the slow third movement – famously quotes a minor-mode version of the children’s rhyme Bruder Martin (also known as Frere Jacques). The finale transports the listener to a world of Gothic theatricality reminiscent of Grand Opera, before arriving – after a number of false starts – at the symphony’s heroic chorale-like ending. This symphonic ‘world-in-microcosm’ is here brought to life by the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vanska on the fourth installment in a series which has earned the team the description ‘among the finest exponents of Mahler’s music’ on the website allmusic.com.



In short, then, a very unusual and individual view of the symphony. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I found it interesting because it was different without being too precious or coy.

– Art Music Lounge Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in D major "Titan" by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1896 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Extraordinarily fine Mahler's First! September 3, 2019 By Gail M. (Goleta, CA) See All My Reviews "This is an excellent performance recorded in the best sound I've ever heard. Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra interpret Mahler's First in a style very much like that of many good conductors since Bernstein, so there are no surprises in that department. Perhaps the Third Movement is slightly less crude in a few places than some. But this recording lets you hear Mahler's ingenious instrumental colors as never before, even in tuttis such as the opening of Movement 4. This adds enormously to the enjoyment of this music. I would not want to be without this recording! My only criticism: the soft passages opening Movements 1 & 3 are at very low volume, and some listeners may want to turn up the volume just for those parts and down again later to avoid a blast." Report Abuse
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