The Seventh remains the least well-known of all Mahler's symphonies. Precisely because its material is so enormously wide-ranging, its colors so thrillingly kaleidoscopic, this work is also perhaps the one from all the composer's canon most reliant on a knowing, strong-willed interpretive presence. This Michael Tilson Thomas provides in spades in one of his finest performances on disc.
Gustav Mahlers 8th Symphony breaks the boundaries of the symphonic form in a world-embracing gesture. Riccardo Chailly is one of the staunchest performers of this work, and therefore it seemed appropriate in many ways that he chose this work for his inaugural concert as Claudio Abbados successor and new music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. The artistic statement was combined with a deeply personal conviction: it should be a 'tribute to Claudio', the highly esteemed friend and colleague to whom Chailly, as he emphasizes, owes very much. On 12 August 2016, Claudio Abbados unfinished Mahler cycle with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was completed in a breathtaking performance of the Mahler 8th, simultaneously heralding in a new era in Lucerne.
First Beethoven, then Sibelius and now Mahler: Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra launch their newest major recording project with an album of Gustav Mahler’s three-part, five-movement Fifth Symphony.
Even if one always has doubts about Simon Rattle conducting Mahler - doubts about his sincerity and his seriousness - even if one has always questioned his radically wrong tempos in the Second and Fourth and his amazingly uncomprehending interpretations of the Sixth and Seventh - one has to admit that Rattle has over time gradually been getting better at recording Mahler.
Conductor Jascha Horenstein has long been regarded as one of the finest exponents of the music of Gustav Mahler. His 1952 studio recording of the Ninth Symphony was the first such recording to be commercially released (the 1938 Walter was partly or entirely live; a 1950 studio effort by Scherchen only appeared long after it was recorded). A small handful of other recordings, made between the mid-1950s and the late sixties and generally live, have appeared over the years, but never this particular rendition from the Vienna Festival of 1960 which, over three weeks, celebrated Mahler's centenary.