Mahler: Symphony No.4

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WORKS: Symphony No.4
PERFORMER: Luba Orgánosová (soprano); Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman
CATALOGUE NO: 88697 16852 2


This lucid, bright account of the Fourth highlights the expressive neoclassical counterpoint in which this Symphony overflows. The players seem a little cautious at first of the woods and mountains beyond their sophisticated Zurich milieu. Violas and low horns make their darker presence felt in the first movement development, yet the climactic panic remains clean-textured, with high spirits only unleased at the very end of that movement, while a sensibly macabre scherzo surprises by poking out its bony tongue in the last two chords. The glorious slow movement, the Symphony’s heart, starts as a gleaming song rather than static meditation. It looks into the abyss with clear eyes as well as magnificent tonal range and depth, and arrives before heaven’s gates with extreme dynamic inwardness. AS in other instalments of his Mahler cycle, Zinman has worked hard ono string articulation without conjuring the unique glow that belongs to Abbado’s Vienna and Berlin departments, though the Tonhalle acoustic, with horns set naturally back but never sounding too reticent, is naturally captured by the excellent recording (especially vivid in SACD format). Soprano Luba Orgánasová stakes more perhaps on the sorrow than the brighter side of the finale’s angelic conversation, but she complements her fellow musicians with equally generous phrasing.