Review by Audiophile.no February 21, 2014 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
The main content of this multi-channel SACD from Linn Records is a symphony by Mahler. The fourth in the series of 9. Or 10 really, since he tries to cheat death by calling the true ninth symphony "Das Lied von der Erde." Several composers before him had died after writing his 9th symphony. This seemed to help - Gustav Mahler survived "Das Lied von der Erde." But when he proudly called his next symfonie for the 9th, it was his path.
Gustav Mahler`s 4. symphony he wrote around the turn of the century, for a full symphony orchestra. In 1920, nine years after his death there was a man named Erwin Stein who orchestrated symphony for chamber orchestra - 14 instruments and a solo soprano. The event was first performed on 10 January 1921. This was part of a movement called Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen, which was founded by Arnold Schönberg, in 1918. The motivation for rearranging for chamber orchestra was in many cases of practical art - chamber orchestra was easier both to accommodate the performance of, not to mention less expensive to hire.
The interesting question is: is this a lean version of Mahler's 4th? Kind of low-fat? To this question our record from Linn Records give a crystal clear answer.
Linn Records has started a collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble of London. This is the first release in the collaboration, where they have taken hold of Erwin Stein's orchestration, reconstructed by Alexander Platt.
Trevor Pinnock is the conductor of the release, and he should probably take much of the credit for this beeing an amazing dynamic interpretation. Mahler`s Symphony No.4 is here performed with a nerve I have not been close to experiencing in other recordings of this symphony.
I believe that the explanation for this is threefold. No doubt that Pinnock's interpretation is dominated by temperature and dynamics, and receive full support of a brilliant ensemble. Equally important, I think the stripped down orchestration is. There is often more than me who has a little two-fold compared to Mahler's symphonies. Very beautiful, dramatic, emotional and at times sentimental. But at the same time the orchestration can often be a little too overwhelming. In this chamber-edition the music is more stripped, and it feels entirely positive. Before the first time I experience also something I see as a kind of pre-echo of the opening of 1.movement oof the 5. symphony, this approx. 9 ½ minutes into the 1st rate of 4. symphony.
Mahler 4 symphony is accompanied by Debussy's Prelude Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune. A beautiful piece, which was actually conceived as part of a larger work. Yet it must be admitted that Debussy fail to arouse my enthusiasm at the same level as Mahler does here. So there is indeed only a small introduction to the disc.
I mentioned earlier that the credit for the dynamic experience was threefold. And the last, but not least factor is undoubtedly an extremely dynamic sound from Linn Records. It is hard to imagine that it has been tweaked significantly in controls of dynamic copression in the studio, and here this is even more pronounced than in a good part of the many previous releases I've listened to.
Also interesting is that the multicannel mix is far less conservative than some other SACDs from Linn Records has presented. The record company has had a very large range in this exercise, as opposed to 2L, that more constantly have a pretty radical multichannel mix on their releases. This in practice means that the listener will feel close to- and 2L's case also in the middle of the musicians. Personally I'm a big fan of this approach, but there are certainly opponents who think that this is too little Hifi-politically correct. In this release gives the result that we get close to the orchestra. And the music. Incredibly nice and engaging!
This is an incredibly great recording from Lnn Records - both musically, and not least sonically. Linn Records have indicated that this is the first in a series in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble. I can hardly wait for the next.
This review was originally written and published by me at www.Audiophile.no in 2013.
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