5 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 2 - October 2006

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • October
  • Theatre
  • Choir
  • Concerts
  • Jazz
  • Choral
  • Arts
  • Singers
  • Symphony


DISCS OF THE MONTH - A SUITCASE FULL OF MAHLER, continued from page 77Das Lied von der ErdeEnsemble Musique Oblique,Philippe HerrewegheHarmonia Mundi 1951477-----GUSTAV MAHLER~~..... -.--­Schoenberg's plan for an arrangement of DasLied von der Erde was quickly abandoned whenthe Society went bankrupt in 1921. The projectwas finally realized in 1983 by Rainer Riehn. Thereduced forces of 13 instruments (rather like atree without its leaves) allows for a more intimateinterpretation, as quite sensitively demonstratedby the artful phrasings of tenor JohnElwes and baritone Russell Braun in their Dorianrecording. Slowik's Smithsonsian Players performon a priceless set of exceptionally mellow,gut-strung Amati instruments. PhilippeHerreweghe's vocal soloists, tenor Hans PeterBlochwitz and alto Birgit Remmert, are considerablymore forceful and backed by an ensembleof modem, steel-strung instruments. CastingMahler's alto part for baritone creates a registralchallenge that is not fully met in the Dorian recording.I prefer Remmert's superior carryingpower in the lengthy final song.BEATLESBAROQUE. . Illtnrc: 1.111.~u;Symphony No. 7Lucerne Festival Orchestra;Claudio AbbadoEuroArts DVD 2054628San Francisco Symphony;Michael Tilson ThomasSFS 821936-0009-2 (Hybrid SACD)Claudio Abbado has been refining his interpretationof this cryptic symphony for three decades;his previous recordings on DeutscheGrammophon with Chicago (1985, recently rereleased)and Berlin (1991) are legendary. TheLucerne Festival Orchestra is Abbado's dreamorchestra, hand picked by the maestro from Europe'sfinest players and featuring a huge stringsection.Tilson Thomas has also shown a particular fascinationwith this work. To my mind however hisapproach to the central three inner movementsis too well mannered, smoothing over the eerie,irrational elements of the first Nachtmusik andgliding through the Scherzo in an unperturbedone-to-a-bar. Abbado's Scherzo, in contrast, is aharrowing, lurching beast that jumps out at youfrom the dark. Both finales are excellent in theirown way. Tilson Thomas' approach is triumphantand gleaming, while Abbado's is electric and propulsive.Abbado's expertly filmed performancehas the advantage of providing the deep bell tonesMahler asks for, rather than the cheesy orchestralchimes of the San Francisco Symphony.Symphonies 1-9, No. 10 AdagioCzech Philharmonic Orchestra;Vaclav NeumannSupraphon SU 3880-2A truly great orchestra,great analogsound, and a nearlygreat conductor areon offer in thisbudget re-issue ofthis important 1980sMahler cycle on theSupraphon label. Youcan read all about Vaclav Neumann's significanceto Czech culture in the slim program book, but ofMahler, alas, you will find nary a word. Neumanntakes a rather laissez-faire approach to the symphoniesand is not normally inclined to the immoderatemelodic coddling of a Bernstein orTilson Thomas. Fortunately, Mahler the conductorensured his scores were sufficiently annotatedand dynamically balanced to render themnear idiot-proof. Nonetheless, there are small butsignificant blunders to be found throughout thiscycle, some quite inexplicable: a transposition errorin the trumpet parts in the first movement ofthe 3rd that was allowed to pass, cowbells in the6th and 7th which are utterly devoid of mystery,and, in the finale of the 6th, "hammerblows offate" that sound a pitiful metallic clink ratherthanthe resounding wooden thwack Mahler exp I icitlydemands. Interpretatively an excruciatinglyslow and graceless 4th movement in the 7th andan uneven cast of vocal soloists in the choral 8thare major disappointments. The orchestra is superbhowever, with the sensational trumpet playingof Miroslav Kejmar a particular pleasure.Daniel FoleyConcert Notes: Mahler is well represented onthe concert stage this month. The Toronto Symphonyperforms the Kindertotenliederwith baritoneRussell Braun on October 5 at Roy ThomsonHall, and the Adagietto from Symphony No. 5on October 7 (Roy Thomson) and 8 (GeorgeWeston Recital Hall). A selection of Mahler songswill be included in Lita Classen's recital as partof the Great Romantics Festival in Hamilton onOctober 5, the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestrawill be joined by Dan Hambly for Songs of aWayfarer on October 20, the Oshawa DurhamSymphony and the Kingston Symphony joinforces to perform the Symphony No. 5 on November3 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.Back to Ad IndexO CTOBER 1 - N OVEMB ER 7 2006

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Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020
Volume 26 Issue 3 - November 2020
Volume 26 Issue 4 - December 2020 / January 2021

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
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Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
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