Notes and Editorial Reviews
Michael Tilson Thomas' Mahler Seventh is among the very finest to have come along in years. Like Leonard Bernstein, he takes little more than 21 minutes for the first movement; but make no mistake, he's not a Bernstein clone in this work. If anything, MTT makes an even stronger contrast between fast and slow sections than in either of Lennie's two excellent recordings. This approach also holds true in the finale, which receives a marvelously raucous reading in the Bernstein mould--only with an even more rousing chorus of deep bells and cow bells at its tumultuous ending. The middle movement is appropriately spooky, realized through sharply etched dynamic contrasts and sudden shifts of tempo. All of this is made possible by highly spirited,
rhythmically incisive playing from the London Symphony Orchestra. In fact, this is probably their finest recorded outing since their much touted Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian on Sony Classical, also conducted by Tilson Thomas. Even so, they still lack just that last degree of warmth and finesse in the work's quieter moments, and the two Nachtmusik movements accordingly have been better served elsewhere--but not by much! Although some listeners may bemoan the fact that RCA didn't choose to make this recording with Tilson Thomas' current home orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the LSO proves to be a good fit given the conductor's emphasis on rhythm, color, and sharp tempo contrasts. RCA has produced better sonic results than usual at London's Walthamstow Town Hall, and they've also wisely chosen to make this two-disc set available for the price of one. This newcomer can now be considered a great alternative, or a supplement to either of Bernstein's studio recordings.
--Barry Guerrero, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 7 in E minor by Gustav Mahler
Ian Bousfield (Tenor Horn)
Michael Tilson Thomas
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1904-1905; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 11/1997
Venue: Walthamstow Hall, London, England
Length: 81 Minutes 5 Secs.
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