Jonathan Nott / Bamberger Symphoniker

Mahler: Symphonie No. 6

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Jonathan Nott has been recording the symphonies of Gustav Mahler with the Bamberg Symphony since 2005, but the best of all his performances may be this stunning reading of the Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic," a landmark in this SACD series from Tudor. As in his other Mahler performances, Nott inspires the orchestra to play vigorously and with great brilliance, and they offer up a real showcase of instrumental colors and feats of technical virtuosity. Nott's choices are good, from adhering to the original movement order (avoiding the contemporary trend to reverse them, which plays havoc with the symphony's tonal scheme), to his carefully paced tempos that bring sustained excitement to this dauntingly long work. This performance is perhaps as close as one can get to Mahler's intentions, both to the letter of the score and in the spirit of the music, notwithstanding his later misgivings. The "Tragic" has received few recordings in 2013, no doubt because of its extreme demands on the musicians, and while the superb recording by Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra approaches Nott's for accuracy, color, and excitement, this hybrid SACD has the edge for audiophiles.

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