Gustav Mahler - 
	Symphony No. 2 - Bernard Haitink

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GUSTAV MAHLER - SYMPHONY NO. 2 - Miah Persson (Soprano) - Christianne Stotijn (Mezzo-soprano) - Bernard Haitink (Conductor) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus - Hybrid SACD - 810449019163 - CSO Resound 901916

Haitink Replay: Bernard Haitink has been under fire from certain quarters for re-recording his core-repertory on orchestra-based labels. But Haitink's Indian summer in front of the microphones has captured some marvelous performances for posterity. One thinks of the brilliant Beethoven symphony cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live), resolute Bruckner in Amsterdam (RCO Live) and Dresden (Hänssler) and his recording accomplishments as principal conductor of the CSO. The symphonies of Gustav Mahler figured prominently in the latter and accounts of Nos 1, 3 and 6 have proven irresistible to demanding collectors of a particularly stoic disposition. This recording of the 'Resurrection' more than amply justifies the conductor's preference for doing what he knows best. It is his finest interpretation of the score and as fine as any on record.

Traditions: The tradition of objective Mahler performance was established in the Concertgebouw by Eduard van Beinem by the 1950s. As his successor, Haitink maintained this luminescent objectivity and passed it on intact to Riccardo Chailly in due course. Bernard Haitink made two studio recordings of Mahler’s Second with the RCO (1968) and the BPO (1993) for Philips. Yet his previous best performance can be found only on a Netherlands domestic product in the Philips Dutch Master series. The broadcast relay tape revealed that Haitink could be a very different conductor in concert than in the studio. The account of December 25, 1984 was revelatory. And the present recording from November 2008 is even better with the added advantage of the latest advances in engineering. Haitink also made a decisive contribution to the restoration of another important tradition: the dark and deep-rooted Central European tone of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. CSO Resound conveys in full the sonorities which made the orchestra famous under Reiner and Solti. The CSO is back in form and once again audibly unique among American orchestras. May Bernard Haitink long continue to record what he wants, when he wants …and aren't we lucky?

Seconds of Record: May note be taken of the following library choices for this work:

- Bruno Walter/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (1948 – Andante)
- Carl Schuricht/RSO Stuttgart (1958 – Hänssler)
- Bruno Walter/New York Philharmonic (1958 – Sony)
- Sir Georg Solti/London Symphony Orchestra (1966 – Decca)
- Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic (DG)
- Gary Bertini/Cologne RSO (EMI)
- Michael Gielen/SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg (Hänssler)
- Ivan Físcher/Budapest Festival Orchestra (Channel Classics)

Stephen Habington