So a bit late on this one but as it’s just been announced that the LSO is only British orchestra in list of world’s best, thought we’d better have a listen.
Not only that, classical music is the new techno don’t you know (see Carl Craig and Moritz Von Oswald’s ReComposed Music by Maurice Ravel & Modest Mussorgsky) and as this CD is on Hybrid SACD (you can play it on 5.1 home entertainment systems), you’ve got something that’s really quite impressive.
Now I know Simon Rattle (formerly LSO principal conductor who got a transfer to Berlin SO) is supposed to be good but his replacement Valery Gergiev, seems a very intense type of guy (he certainly looks it from the cover) and he’s the right man for No. 6 as it strikes me that Mahler was in an angry mood when he wrote this and ready to take a nation into battle.
Its certainly powerful stuff as there seems to be little bit of ‘battles’ going on but all the time. It’s certain intense and passionate but I wonder if some of the themes have been ‘stolen’ as it seam that this has a soundtrack feel; somewhere between an Alfred Hitchcock, Star Wars, Rebecca, The 39 Steps and TV shows like The Onedin Line.
Another thing that might catch the non-classical fans ear (in a Matthew Herbert Big Band type way) is that “Mahler’s brass and percussion-heavy scoring plays to this group’s strengths”.
Now I couldn’t pretend to know whether Gergiev’s decision to place the Andante second is a good or bad thing (apparently Mahler never definitively made up his mind whether it should be second or third) but with the magic of MP3 players its up to us these days anyway. Actually, the 2nd Movement is a bit of a relief as the strings take the lead.
By the time of the 4th Movement, it’s all hands to the pump but the bloody big finish is big but disappointingly, a little short.
Whilst I can’t say I’m a fan of the LSO, I did notice that I’ve got a couple of their other recordings (they played on the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Apocalypse and their foray into the cover versions of Classic Rock -, not sure I should be owning up to this but it looks like I’m not the only one). It looks like they don’t do such stuff these day and concentrate on their on LSO Live label recordings and apparances at their home ground at the Barbican (I bet they are worth going to see live).
They have announced that their next release is Mahler’s Symphony No 2 & adagio from Symphony No 10 with a release date on 12th January 2009. As Christmas is near, No. 6 would be a good one to get first so as to get prepared.
Reviewed: Mahler – Symphony No 6 (LSO/Gergiev) [Hybrid SACD] (LSO Live) Cat. No. 661 Release date: 04/08/2008 Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins Recorded live November 2007 at the Barbican, London.
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
1. Symphony no 6 in A minor ‘Tragic’: 1st movement, Allegro energico, ma non troppo
2. Symphony no 6 in A minor ‘Tragic’: 2nd movement, Andante moderato
3. Symphony no 6 in A minor ‘Tragic’: 3rd movement, Scherzo ‘Wuchtig’
4. Symphony no 6 in A minor ‘Tragic’: 4th movement, Sostenuto – Allegro moderato – Allegro energico
LSO is only British orchestra in list of world’s best – Times Online 21 Nov 2008 … The London Symphony Orchestra, in fourth place, is the country’s sole … Let us remember that this is the magazine that listed the top …
www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/bh – The Sunday Newspapers on 23rd November 2008 – “Rifling through the papers with us this week were Journalist Gareth McLean, Managing Director of The London Symphony Orchestra Kathryn McDowell and actor Kenneth Cranham”.
Classic fM Magazine January 2009 ¬£4.50 Classic fM Hereos – Ken Russell “Mahler’s music is very pictorial and very passionate but also very surprising” p.22/23.