This monumental recording of Mahler's Second Symphony attempts something that is scarcely ever done in the highly political realm of symphony orchestras. The orchestra heard on this DVD is something of an "all-star" ensemble made up of musicians from many of the nation's finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony to name but a few, all united under the baton of Neeme Järvi. In the brief interviews preceeding the concert, many of the musicians make note of the inherent difficulties in such an endeavor. Although everyone on the stage has likely performed Mahler dozens of times, they have all done so with their own orchestras, and each orchestra has its own unique way of performing. To thrust these differing viewpoints together with short rehearsal time is an immense challenge. Jarvi and the orchestra rise to the challenge and then some, yielding a product far greater than the some of its parts. The orchestra's sound is amazingly powerful, rich, and deeply satisfying. The different orchestras represented in this conglomeration blend into a satisfying single entity. Apart from very rare differences in articulation in some of the string sections, it is almost as if this ensemble had existed for many years. This DVD is absolutely recommended for its superb sound quality, enjoyable interpretation, and clear, unobtrusive cinematography.
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