WORKS: Symphony No. 6
PERFORMER: London PO/Klaus Tennstedt
CATALOGUE NO: LPO 0038
In comparison to Zinman’s focus on symphonic lucidity, Tennstedt goes for the jugular, accentuating the theatricality of Mahler’s musical language. Those familiar with his two EMI recordings of the work will hardly be surprised to find that the same interpretative mannerisms affect this 1983 performance recorded live at the Proms.
These can have tremendous impact, particularly when the playing of the LPO is so superbly responsive. Nonetheless the stop-start approach to the Scherzo and Andante moderato still remains very much an acquired taste and the recording can’t quite cope with the tumult of Mahler’s climaxes in the outer movements.
A compelling alternative to the ‘objective’ Mahler as epitomised by Zinman would be Iván Fischer’s forthright but subtly nuanced performance on SACD with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. For those who prefer their Mahler to be more heart on the sleeve, Bernstein (DG) or Michael Tilson Thomas (Avie) offer an even more graphically terrifying account of this shattering masterpiece. Erik Levi