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Bayan Northcott
BBC Music Magazine, December 2018

Mariss Jansons finely calibrates the ebb and flow of the opening movement and never allows the finale to falter; and while one has heard more savage accounts of the ‘Rondo Burlesque’, Jansons’s account of the Ländler is more nuanced—and more interesting—than most. But what is special is the care he, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the engineers have taken with the quieter music: those haunting, shadowy transitions in the Andante; those remote, blanched contrapuntal episodes in the finale. And the final fade-out must surely be among the most fine-spun on record. © 2018 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review

Huntley Dent
Fanfare, July 2017

Jansons is attuned to extremes down to small details, like the weirdly squeezed tone of the stopped horn in the opening measures of the first movement, which signals in general that he wants the instrumental colors to be Expressionist, like Schoenberg in Erwartung. In that respect, this new recording veers toward the lurid and outdoes even Bernstein.

…the Bavarian Radio Symphony, captured in close, detailed sonics, surges with power and virtuosity. I have a preference for hearing the greatest orchestras in the Mahler Ninth, and here is one. Jansons approaches the Ländlers of the second movement with the same brazen exuberance as the first movement, paying more attention to excitement than satire (bitter or affectionate)…

…everything is a success, and of course there’s evident pleasure in hearing such glorious sounds. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

David Gutman
Gramophone, May 2017

…captured live last year in Munich’s sometimes problematic Philharmonie im Gasteig, [disc] risks being seen as superfluous for all that its textures are warmer and gentler, closer to Dvorák than to Alban Berg. In fact I can’t think of a Ninth with less neurasthenic edge and a more inviting legato character. The playing, of predictable finesse, idiomatic or not, is preserved in grateful, slightly tubby sound. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, April 2017

The symphony is scored for an orchestra consisting of piccolo, 4 flutes, 4 oboes (one doubling cor anglais), E-flat clarinet, 3 clarinets in B-flat and A, 4 bassoons (one doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, tympani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam, 3 deep bells in F-sharp, A, and B, 2 harps, and the usual strings. Mahler, who was one of music history’s great conductors as well as a composer, knew well the capabilities of all these instruments, individually and in combination, and the way to use each for best effect. Despite the mammoth orchestration, there is no sense of overloading or confusion, only the most amazing economy and a chamber music-like clarity.

All of which requires a performance rich in nuance, well-paced, and with a constant awareness of the textures and range of emotions that are involved in an exceptionally detailed score. The cueing by the conductor and the execution by every chair of the orchestra have to be right on the money. Further, you need recorded sonics with both substantial body and the highest transparency. To my mind, this live recording by Mariss Jansons and the BRSO is as close to perfection as I could possibly imagine. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, March 2017

Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is primarily regarded as the composer’s reaction to the diagnosis of a heart ailment, which he received just before writing the first sketches for the work. Mahler was deeply distraught and cannot have known how few years he still had left to live. His exploration of his own life experiences, and of the meaning of life, death, salvation, life after death and love, always took place in and through his music.

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony represents the culmination of a development process. The progressive chromaticism and maximum utilization of the tonal are here taken to their limits—and, for the first time, beyond them. Indeed, the two movements that frame the work, in particular, depart from the tonal entirely, pointing clearly to the dawn of a new musical epoch. Alban Berg even called this symphony “the first work of New Music”. © 2017 My Classical Notes Read complete review, March 2017

Far from being music of despair or resignation, as it often seems to be, this is for Jansons music of acceptance, of acknowledgment of the inevitable and tremendous composure through understanding its approach. The very end of the movement and the symphony is ineffable here in a way that may well have listeners holding their breath for what comes next. There is no “next” here, of course, and only a partial “next” in the Tenth, but Jansons so whets the appetite for what might have been that the conclusion of this Mahler Ninth leaves behind a feeling of nothing less than awe. © 2017 Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, March 2017

Striking a balance between Mahler’s extremes of caustic aggression and sublime resignation and creating a coherent whole, Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra perform with clarity and precision, and give the Ninth a consistency that makes musical and expressive sense. Jansons maintains a steady flow between highs and lows, and doesn’t push the limits, so his interpretation is less reminiscent of Bernstein and closer to the measured approach of Haitink. The closeness of the recording gives the musicians a chamber-like feeling in many passages, though the microphone placement captures climaxes with stunning sound. © 2017 Read complete review

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, March 2017

With masterly control, Jansons takes the remarkable opening movement Andante comodo with what feels like just the right degree of forward momentum and dramatic tension. Jansons’ interpretation starkly contrasts the writing of an idyllic sense of bucolic contentment to world weary acquiescence with occasional glimpses of apocalyptic terror. In the bittersweet second movement Scherzo, the contrasting moods are astutely emphasised. On the surface things are unified by the unremitting dance rhythms of two different pairs of waltzes and Ländler. I was struck by how the music gets increasingly frantic and contorted before fading way into the distance. The adeptness of Jansons’ confident direction is commendable, as is the orchestra’s responsive playing. The shifting moods of the Rondo-Burleske are suitably underlined and frequently driven to extremes by Jansons. Mahler’s writing seems tongue in cheek, from the trivial often popular melodies to the chilling and grotesque. Marked by Jansons’ robust forward momentum only a number of brief dream-like episodes provide a modicum of relief from the near mayhem of sound. The Finale: Adagio contains no more passages of disdain and mockery. This is serene, incandescent music reflecting Mahler’s intense personal introspection, interpreted with a high level of inspiration and sense of total involvement. Jansons’ Bavarian strings provide a blanket of sublime sound of a searing intensity.

A great Mahlerian in my view, Mariss Jansons here directs a memorable live account of Mahler 9, drawing stunning playing of considerable intensity from his Bavarian orchestra. Immaculately prepared, as usual, I admire Jansons’ masterly control of tempo, dynamic and scale. Beautifully recorded too at the Philharmonie, Munich this BR Klassik release will feature prominently in my Mahler collection. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, February 2017

Janson’s Ninth Mahler from Oslo is a great recording. This one is better still. In the first movement the listener fully experiences heaven and hell, the two central movements are hyped-up and joyous, with the Adagio being totally overwhelming. © 2017 Pizzicato

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