Mahler: Symphony No. 3

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ALBUM TITLE: Mahler – Symphony No. 3
WORKS: Symphony No. 3
PERFORMER: Marjana Lipov>=ek (mezzo-soprano); Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna Singverein, Bavarian State Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
You can usually glean what kind of a Mahler Three you’re about to experience from the power of the primeval horns right at the start. The Munich eight here, primly testing the waters of Vienna’s Musikverein, are the most anodyne we’ve had on disc for a long time, preface to a live performance that rarely leaps off the printed page.


Mehta carries out all the varied dynamics Mahler asks for, from the very softest to the loudest this rather well-behaved orchestra can muster; he indulges in no extravagances of tempo; and his texturing is exemplary. Yet how little it all says alongside the eloquently teeming canvases of Abbado, Bernstein (both DG), Rattle (EMI), Chailly (Decca), even Boulez (DG again), where we experience all the rawness of Mahler’s natural and human worlds. Mehta airbrushes it out of existence. The few remaining moments of magic, chiefly the distant posthorn serenade of the third movement, are largely the work of the concert-hall perspectives and their superb handling by the production team. David Nice