Mahler: Symphony No. 9

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LABELS: Supraphon
WORKS: Symphony No. 9
PERFORMER: Czech PO/Karel Ancerl
CATALOGUE NO: SU 1954-2 AAD (1966)
More flexibly human than Bruno Walter’s monumental reading of five years earlier, Ancerl’s 1966 Mahler Nine is let down by its recording at the last moment. For a while internal balances are perfectly consistent throughout the first three movements – and the detail Ancerl doggedly reveals in the Rondo-Burleske is marvellous – but strings singe the ears at such close quarters in the concluding Adagio that the spiritual dimension, and especially the final ‘rest is silence’, can only be sympathetically imagined. Even for the most determined of this remarkable conductor’s admirers, that may be asking too much. David Nice