Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (Dusseldorf/A Fischer)
Dusseldorf Symphony/Ádám Fischer, et al (CAvi-music)
Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’
Tünde Szabóki (soprano), Nadine Weissmann (alto); Choir of the Stadtischer Musikverein zu Dusseldorf; Dusseldorf Symphony/Ádám Fischer
CAVi-music AVI 8553485 81:01 mins
Fischer the elder’s Mahler Two – brother Ivan’s interpretation is already vividly before us on CD – dates from a time when large audiences, orchestras and choirs were something we took for granted. The recording tries to give the same sensation of a seat some way back in Dusseldorf’s Tonhalle, so you really need to be neighbour-free for the right volume. I’m not, so I often wanted more, especially in the more delicate swathes of the inner movements (fitful volume adjustments revealed feathery pizzicatos in the third time round of the second movement’s old dance tune).
The intention of the opening ‘funeral rites’ is clear, though – febrile and lithe rather than deep and portentous, with special radiance for the glimpses of heaven throughout. Pianissimos are ideally so; there’s some unique bass stalking as the processionals gear up again. Distance and space are perfectly judged in the big canvas of the finale; among the excellent woodwind, the flutes conjuring the song of the nightingale against distant fanfares are as magically artistic as any I’ve heard, the ensuing chorus ideally hushed.
Fischer is let down only by his soloists: Nadine Weissmann has the right mezzo colour, but doesn’t go inward enough; and soprano Tünde Szabóki emerges from the chorus less than enchantingly, a tad sharp. All the right dynamics and accents are perfectly in place; it’s a classy piece of work, but I wouldn’t necessarily have had it down as a live event.
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