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An Unfolding Cycle

Gergiev conducts Mahler,
heard by

LSO Live    LSO0660

Mahler: Symphony No 3. Valery Gergiev. © 2008 London Symphony Orchestra

Gergiev, the LSO and Mahler will inevitably be a powerful mix, and this recording of the 3rd Symphony proves to be an exciting experience -- another performance added to the unfolding cycle (1, 6 and 7 so far) that has already found justifiable favour among Mahler addicts, and may even now have won over new enthusiasts too. Gergiev views the scores under a microscope and then, having absorbed the most minute details, turns them back into the broad emotional canvases that the composer himself may well have recreated.

From the outset, there is boldness and immense vigour

Listen -- Mahler: Kräftig. Entschieden (Symphony No 3)
(CD 1, 0:01-0:47) © 2008 London Symphony Orchestra

and not only the fearless percussive sounds, but magnificent horn playing from the team of eight required by the score.

Listen -- Mahler: Kräftig. Entschieden (Symphony No 3)
(CD 1, 2:04-3:25) © 2008 London Symphony Orchestra

Anna Larsson intones beautifully the ominous words of Nietzsche from Also sprach Zarathustra in the fourth movement 'What the night tells me', and the women's voices of the LSO Chorus are the angels from Des Knaben Wunderhorn for 'What the morning bells tell me' with the treble voices of Tiffin Boys' Choir supplying the bells resonantly -- all extraordinarily well balanced.

The heart of the work is at the end in the form of its twenty-minute slow movement finale, throughout which Gergiev maintains its strength whilst also drawing from the orchestra its most sensitive pianissimo playing,

Listen -- Mahler: (Symphony No 3)
(CD 2 track 5, 4:58-6:29) © 2008 London Symphony Orchestra

rising to magnificently controlled climaxes without any overpowering sentimentality.

Listen -- Mahler: (Symphony No 3)
(CD 2 track 5, 13:06-14:47) © 2008 London Symphony Orchestra

We must await with pleasurable anticipation the next Mahler/Gergiev issue on the LSO Live label.

Copyright © 18 December 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK




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