Symphony No. 4 in G major
Anna Lucia Richter (soprano); Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša
Accentus ACC30532 54:35 mins
It’s now clear that Jakub Hrůša can sing Mahler’s praises on both the most colossal scale – his Philharmonia performance of the Second Symphony last February was a stunner – and the most (intermittently) intimate in this often very private and mysterious interpretation of the Fourth.
He takes a risk in scaling down to the very quietest of dynamics – what works in the concert hall doesn’t always have quite the same atmosphere on a recording – and the Bamberg strings aren’t quite the equals of those in Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna for finding the light behind the halos. But I’ve never heard the forest murmurs at the heart of the first movement more hauntingly shadowed, with bold, lurid woodwind splendidly set against them as hobgoblins in the wood. And the amount of vibrato seems just right, especially in the Schubertian lyrical theme of the opening. It’s perfectly paced, like everything else – just the right sense of forward movement, and of repose without flagging.
Anna Lucia Richter sings beautifully in the song-finale, treble-like against organ effects in the soulful refrains (though why the breath mid-phrase each time?). It’s a paradigm for her that the final verse is a third lower: this is her last recording before transitioning to mezzo.
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