Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet

 

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 4 in G major (1900)

Mojca Erdmann (soprano)
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott
rec. 18-22 December 2006, Joseph-Keilberth Saal, Bamburg
TUDOR 7151 [55:29] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


Mahler completed his Fourth Symphony in 1900, just three years after his appointment as Director at the Vienna Court Opera. The first four of Mahler's symphonies had all been all closely linked with songs: the First with the Lieder eines fahrenden gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), and the Second, Third and Fourth with the anthology based on the folk poems gathered under the collective title Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Youth's Magic Horn). Therefore these works were linked both psychologically and spiritually; and in fact the song-finale of the Fourth Symphony, the Wunderhorn song Das Himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life), was originally conceived as the seventh and final movement of the huge Third Symphony. Even though Mahler rejected this initial plan, fragments of the song were quoted in the fifth movement of the Third: 'What the Angels tell me'.
 

It is the finale, the 'Child's view of Heaven', which must be regarded as the creative starting point for the Fourth Symphony, not only psychologically but also structurally, since its material pervades the remainder of the work. Accordingly, by Mahler's standards the orchestra is relatively modest. There are only four or five horns (in the Third there were eight), trombones and tuba are omitted altogether; and aside from four flutes, two of whom double piccolos, there are triple woodwinds, along with harp, strings, and a large and varied percussion section. 

The nature of the orchestration goes beyond the composer's natural preference for chamber textures. For here he intended a lightness of tone in keeping with the music’s pastoral vision, which relates to the naivety of the poem of the finale. The 'Child's view of Heaven' was an important image to Mahler, both since it reflected a new approach to the ‘essential question’, and since it was so close to his own experience, as the second of fourteen children, of whom the majority died in infancy or childhood. 

Since the song-finale is so important to the symphony, so too is the nature of the performance it receives from the soprano. Mojca Erdmann sings beautifully, conveying the charm and naivety that lies at the heart of this Wunderhorn song. After all, where else in the musical world would you encounter beans, asparagus and eleven thousand virgins? This is a competitive field when it comes to recordings, finding room for the somewhat matronly Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (with Klemperer, EMI Classics 7243 5 67035 2) and the bold though unauthentic choice of the boy soprano Helmut Wittek of the Tolz Boys’ Choir (with Bernstein, DG 00289 477 5179). See the MusicWeb comprehensive survey of recordings of the symphony by Tony Duggan. 

Jonathan Nott’s performance of the Fourth Symphony with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra makes a strong impression in the context of what is a distinguished and impressive recorded legacy. The Tudor SACD recording does full justice to Mahler’s meticulous and colourful orchestration. Nowhere is the concept of writing for ‘a series of chamber orchestras’ more apparent than in this symphony, and the recorded sound brings the performance to life with admirable clarity, depth and balance. The Bamberg players show themselves as members of an ensemble of international calibre. 

The first movement is clear and sprightly, though not rushed, while the second has the orchestral leader’s devilish violin, tuned up a tone in line with Mahler’s instructions, ideally placed: prominent but not over-lit. The rhythmic subtleties of this movement are expertly handled. 

The slow movement, as usual in a great symphony, is the heart of the work. There is a true pianissimo when required, allowing for a full dynamic range and a shattering climax towards the end of the movement when Mahler arrives at ‘the opening of the gates of Heaven’. This in turn winds down to the song finale.

Few symphonies are more fully represented in the catalogue than Mahler’s Fourth. This new recording can hold a noble place among them, and with such excellent recorded sound, it moves towards the top of the list of recommendations. 

Terry Barfoot





 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.