, September 2012
With the release of this impressive new Mahler Third, Markus Stenz completes the Wunderhorn trilogy…
The opening fanfare wastes no time and is commanding, aided by the open and impactful sound production.
The growing confidence of the “summer” theme is well caught by the bloom of the audio…The “rabble” section assembles the opposing forces and lets them have at it; baleful trombones and trumpets contrast with wonderfully screechy piccolo and swirling violins, all paced expertly…The final triumphant summer procession fills the soundstage with bright colors before marching off in quickstep fashion. The moderately close audio perspective enhances the vitality of this conception.
The rather mellow oboe of the Gurzenich Orchestra sets the mood for the wistful second movement. The glowing strings establish a sunnier tone. The zephyrs that soon disturb the calm have the right “tempest in a teapot” character of the movement. The horncall episode at the end is impressive in the amount of energy the orchestra generates.
Michaela Schuster’s forthright but sympathetic version of “O Mensch!” complements her exemplary “Urlicht” in Stenz’s Mahler Second. The oboe and English horn employ the glissando in their “sound of nature” solos, and Stenz’s tempo keeps things from dragging. The boys, girls, and women sing “Bimm, Bamm” with spirit and verve…in addition, each choir is distinguishable from the others in the sound mix.
…Stenz opts for passion and impetuosity, and I find his performance compelling.
The sound alone puts much of the competition (Gergiev, Zinman, Honeck) in the shade, and Stenz’s authority in Mahler’s music is becoming more obvious with every new Oehms release. Highest recommendation. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review