ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
GUSTAV MAHLER - SYMPHONY NO. 6


GUSTAV MAHLER - SYMPHONY NO. 6 - BERNARD HAITINK (Conductor) - CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - CSO-RESOUND CSOR901804

This is visionary music. A work full of meaning, overflowing with various conflicts between good versus evil, man against man, love and hate, the beauty of dream worlds and the harshness of reality ... therefore it requires a great conductor to bring out all of these important differences, especially in a live performance like we have here.

What gives this live October 2007 recording it's edge, is the astounding level of inner instrumental detail that Bernard Haitink coaxes out of the orchestra. This is a very densely scored work, but yet all the inner workings are well on display here. The brass and woodwind players in particular have to be applauded for some of the acrobatics they perform in the last movement.

The beautiful slow movement is very well judged and the cowbells are placed in just the right perspective to be effective and to convey their importance within the framework of the symphony. Sure I have heard more earth shaking hammer blows in the last movement, but here it's the music that follows them that is scarier and more menacing, and during the final minute or so, the sense of gloom and resignation is beyond compare. Another great Mahler-Haitink-Chicago outing!

Jean-Yves Duperron