Mariss Jansons conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 9

A
a
-
Album title:
Mahler
Composer(s):
Mahler
Works:
Symphony No. 9
Performer:
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
Label:
BR Klassik
Catalogue Number:
900151
Performance:
starstarstarstarnostar
Recording:
starstarstarstarnostar
4
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Mariss Jansons conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 9

Mahler did not live to conduct the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, and might have retouched many details if he had – not least, tightening up the many sequential repetitions of its Ländler second movement. But the real problem here is that this follows arguably the greatest single movement he ever composed: the vast opening Andante comprising wave after wave of hyper-expressive counterpoint – virtually a symphony-in-one movement in itself. And although he screwed up the tension again in the satirical exasperation of the ‘Rondo Burlesque’ third movement, the exalted quality of the opening is not regained until the hymn-like Adagio finale, with its lingering, fade-out coda that is hard not to hear as Mahler’s farewell to life.

Although the score includes no metronome marks – Mahler disparaged them – conductors’ choices of the best tempos to hold this disparate work together seem to have been surprisingly consistent. Most recordings come in at somewhere between 77 and 82 minutes – though in his last recording with the Philharmonia, Lorin Maazel managed to take 15 minutes longer! Mariss Jansons finely calibrates the ebb and flow of the opening movement and never allows the finale to falter; and while one has heard more savage accounts of the ‘Rondo Burlesque’, Jansons’s account of the Ländler is more nuanced – and more interesting – than most. But what is special is the care he, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the engineers have taken with the quieter music: those haunting, shadowy transitions in the Andante; those remote, blanched contrapuntal episodes in the finale. And the final fade-out must surely be among the most fine-spun on record.
 

Bayan Northcott

Vasily Petrenko conducts Elgar's Symphony No. 2 and Chanson de Matin
Vasily Petrenko conducts Elgar's Symphony No. 2 and Chanson de Matin
previous review Article
Andrew Manze conducts Vaughan Williams's Symphony Nos 3 & 4
Andrew Manze conducts Vaughan Williams's Symphony Nos 3 & 4
next review Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here