Jonathan Nott / Bamberger Symphoniker

Mahler: Symphony No. 2

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Since 2004, Jonathan Nott and the Bamberg Symphony have recorded some truly remarkable performances of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, and their hybrid SACD recordings for Tudor are among the best recordings ever released in this audiophile format. Ranking high among them, and certainly among any recordings ever made of the Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection," is this astonishing 2008 live performance, which raises the bar for exciting playing, profound emotion, magnificent singing, and spectacular sound. There have been so many superb performances of this symphony that it's a fool's errand to go through them to find the greatest one, or even a handful of them, but this recording has to be placed among the absolute finest because of Nott's deep understanding and eloquent communication of the score, the orchestra's potent execution and stirring expressions, the nearly divine vocals of soprano Anne Schwanewilms and mezzo-soprano Lioba Braun, and the moving presence and spiritual depth of the Bamberg Symphony Choir. It's all here. The breathtaking whole is as close to an ideal performance of the Symphony No. 2 as can be found anywhere on earth. One is hard pressed to find anything worth complaining about, for even minor disagreements one might have over dynamics, articulation, or inflection seem utterly insignificant and pointless alongside the many marvelous things that are not only right or admirable, but simply perfect. This splendid revelation of the "Resurrection" is recommended as one of the best releases of 2010 and of the 21st century.

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