The Classical Review
, June 2012
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 8 (Chailly) (NTSC) ACC-20222
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection" (Chailly) (NTSC) ACC-20238
Riccardo Chailly, in his live performances and his stunningly engineered, recorded cycle of the Mahler symphonies…has most often seemed what might be called an engaged objectivist: musical architecture and internal clarity have always seemed of paramount importance to this conductor, but he also knows how to tap these scores for their vivid color as well as for their sizeable dramatic impact.
A new pair of Accentus Music DVDs…gives us a taste of Chailly’s recent thinking on this composer, preserving performances of Symphonies Nos. 2 (Resurrection) and 8 (Symphony of a Thousand) with the Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig from the International Mahler Festival Leipzig…
Some aspects of these readings reinforce what might be expected from Chailly’s Mahler. The textures have a transparency, and the shaping of phrases a structural logic that’s familiar from past performances.
But, in another way, these DVDs are something of a revelation. I can’t remember other Chailly Mahler that’s felt quite as emotionally involved as what is heard here. Granted, watching this conductor at work…leaves the viewer in no doubt about the level of fervent commitment on which he’s operating…The musicians, too, dig into both scores with a febrile, physical attack on phrases; clearly, no one is treating these concerts as business-as-usual, weekly-subscription fare.
Yet it’s the music-making itself, quite apart from the visual stimulus the cameras provide, that shows Chailly…to be a more warmly communicative, more viscerally responsive Mahler conductor. Much of the time, his rubato is subtle and organic.
There’s affectionate sculpting and a decided elasticity in the phrasing, and the programmatic material the orchestra has during the latter movements of the Resurrection…certainly generates a great deal of atmosphere in Chailly’s hands.
The orchestra (featuring some notably thrilling brass playing) and the chorus are on top form, and the soloists are a generally strong lot—with special pleasure given by Georg Zeppenfeld’s dark, elegant bass in the Eighth, and Christiane Oelze’s lyrical but full-toned soprano in the Second. The sound engineering is wonderfully wide-ranging, clear and rich, and the visual component is cleanly rendered… © 2012 The Classical Review Read complete review