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John Quinn
MusicWeb International, September 2012

…this is a tremendous performance, superbly played and marvellously recorded. It’s one of the best Mahler Thirds that I’ve heard for a very long time. In a long list of distinguished recordings—this symphony has been lucky on disc…

I’ll be interested to hear more Mahler from this team. If they can sustain this level of quality their cycle could be one with which to be reckoned. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Christopher Abbot
Fanfare, 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

Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, June 2012

…a real winner of a disc from Markus Stenz and the wondrous Gürzenich orchestra in a compelling performance of the Third Symphony…The first five of the symphonies and a disc of vocal works have been recorded in the Stenz cycle so far; all are excellent, but this one in particular has a surpassing beauty. Stenz has a deep understanding of Mahler which shines through and the admirable sonic engineering is spectacularly transparent. Tempi are refreshingly nimble in the inner movements, lending a delightfully Shakespearian sense of fantasy to Mahler’s symphonic cosmos; there’s nary a dull moment over the course of this mighty, six movement double CD performance. From the opening depiction of summer’s awakening to the deeply felt, amorous conclusion, Stenz and his magnificent orchestra bring us sheer delight from first to last. © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, June 2012

This latest disc in a highly acclaimed series maintains the high standard of its predecessors, and if not a definitive Mahler 3, this is a powerful and committed reading, rendered here with a massive dynamic range. © 2012 Classical CD Choice, April 2012

Stenz is proving to be one of the best Mahler conductors of the present day, with so sure a hand for the pulse and the meaning of the music that his performances are both exciting and revelatory. The gigantic first movement of the Third gets a brisk and bold opening, with a very big sound from the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and a strong march rhythm. The low strings are especially impressive throughout a movement that flows from element to element with rare confidence, seeming far better connected and less episodic than it often does, thanks in part to superb SACD sound that brings out every detail of the playing. The second movement, gentle and flowing, gives way to a beautifully balanced third movement in which Stenz pays close attention to changes in dynamics—and the orchestra offers a posthorn solo that is not only beautifully played but also surprisingly wistful. Alto Michaela Schuster is intense and passionate in the Nietzsche text of the fourth movement, whose darkness is contrasted exactly as it should be with the lithe and quick fifth, where Stenz brings the brass—especially the trumpets—to the fore, providing as much lightness as there was dark in the prior movement. And the emotion of the finale sums up and ties together everything that has come before. Stenz builds the movement surely and carefully to a highly involving climax and conclusion, scaling emotional heights that are simply breathtaking—and cathartic. © 2012 Read complete review

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