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Mahler: Symphony No 4; Schreker: Prelude / Gielen, Et Al

Release Date: 01/28/2003 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93046   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav MahlerFranz Schreker
Performer:  Christine WhittleseyWolfgang Hock
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is the same Mahler Fourth that first appeared on Intercord about a decade ago (it dates from 1988), and it's a very good one. Michael Gielen conducts a direct, refreshing, and unfussy performance that lacks only a little brilliance at the big climaxes (tam-tam in the first movement, trumpets in the third), but it benefits from the conductor's willingness to make a rough sound where Mahler requires it, as in the first-movement episode for four unison flutes and much of the scherzo. The latter's schmaltzy trio section, with a perfect application of string glissandos and characterfully chirping winds, offers a veritable clinic in an idiomatic Mahler style. Soprano Christine Whittlesey has her screechy and unsteady moments, but she also Read more sounds quite boyish and charming in her way, part and parcel of Gielen's unvarnished approach.

But what makes this disc special is the inclusion of a work that Gielen recorded before, rather murkily, for Koch Schwann: Franz Schreker's amazingly decadent, hypnotic, tuneful, and otherwise absolutely gorgeous Prelude to a Drama (an expanded version of the prelude to the opera Die Gezeichneten). Here is one of the great masterpieces of late-Romantic orchestration, and Gielen's is the finest performance available--more clearly recorded than the competition on EMI, and more accurately played than the recent Chandos release. Gielen's keen ear uncovers more detail in this lavishly over-scored extravaganza than you would have thought possible, from the quiet percussion and rippling strings of the opening, to the eerie sounds that accompany the hallucinatory central procession. This well recorded disc is worth acquiring for the Schreker alone.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christine Whittlesey (Soprano), Wolfgang Hock (Violin)
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1900; Vienna, Austria 
Vorspiel zu einem Drama by Franz Schreker
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Austria 

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