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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Dusseldorf/Fischer)

Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Adám Fischer (CAvi-music)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Symphony No. 9 in D minor
Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Adám Fischer
CAvi-music AVI8553478    79:03 mins

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In his personal note to this new recording, Ádám Fischer tells us he feels Mahler’s Ninth is not only about the process of dying, but also becoming reconciled to it. Accordingly, his tempos in the outer movements are relatively moderate and forward-moving compared with certain other ponderously fraught performances; he seems less inclined than some to make an expressive meal out of every melodic turn or string portamento, and his reading of the final page of dissolution, though measured, is less tremulous with regret than many. As such, it is a convincing enough reading, variegated with pungent detail in the second movement ländler, real drive in the savage ‘Rondo burleske’ and some touching playing in the chamber-like passages of the finale.

If much of the opening Andante and the heavily scored tuttis of the finale prove more problematic, this is partly because Mahler’s contrapuntal textures reached a new level of complexity here, and many details and balances that might be adjusted by spotlighting in a studio recording are covered in the live concert hall ambience of the Düsseldorf Tonhalle. Among comparable recent releases of the work, Herbert Blomstedt’s 2019 recording with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (on Accentus) retains the edge in sound, playing and interpretation.

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Bayan Northcott