ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Mahler - Symphony No. 3


GUSTAV MAHLER - Symphony No. 3 - Mariss Jansons (Conductor) - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - Bernarda Fink (Mezzo-Soprano) - Netherlands Radio Choir - Boys of the Breda Sacrament Choir - Rijnmond Boys' Choir - Hybrid SACD 2CD-Set - 5425008377018 - Released: May 2011 - RCO Live RCO10004

The final movement of the Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler, is one of those rare moments in music when, regardless of your musical stripes, regardless of your likes and dislikes, regardless of what you are doing when it's playing, you simply have to drop everything, stop what you were doing, and listen. It's evocative power and wondrous beauty create that instant effect. And I'm not talking about beauty as in a slow movement of a Mozart concerto or a Strauss waltz. The beauty, or rather the energy within this music is on a different scale, on a different level. It transcends musical notation and theory, it transcends the musical instruments performing it and even transcends the laws of music by making them seem non-existent. And, dare I say it, reaches heights of creativity that can only be a manifestation of God through the composer himself.

Having said all that should indicate without a doubt that I always expect interpretations of Mahler's music to do it full justice, and to express and communicate the music's power as clearly and potently as possible. Let me say that this new 'live' recording under the direction of conductor Mariss Jansons meets, and even far exceeds my highest expectations. And not only because the final movement hits the mark by its fluid pacing and almost religious attention to all the many subtle details within the score, but also from delivering every crucial aspect of this massive symphony with conviction and an innate sense of proportion along its epic scope. The off stage post horn solos in the Scherzo, the dark voice of mezzo Bernarda Fink delivering Nietzsche's profound message in the fourth movement, and all the various wonderful contributions by every member of the orchestra and choirs to portray nature's energy and life's force, come together to deliver a memorable experience and an outstanding interpretation of this great symphonic work.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra who holds one of the longest running Mahler traditions over its 125 years, with definitive Mahler conductors like Mengelberg, Haitink, Chailly, and even Bernstein for some awesome live recordings, upholds that tradition now with this incredible new recording captured during live concerts in February 2010. They are now about halfway through a complete cycle of the Mahler symphonies that is consistently impressive, and if it's in any way possible, seems to best itself with every new release.

Jean-Yves Duperron - May 2011