Bernard Haitink

Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 3

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Bernard Haitink has had a long association with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor, from his classic 1966 stereo recording with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to his 2006 audiophile recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This 2016 release on BR Klassik finds Haitink leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a stirring live performance that shows no diminishment of the conductor's interpretive powers, and compares quite well with his previous renditions. Joined by mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger, the Augsburger Domsingknaben, and the women of the Bavarian Radio Women's Choir, Haitink explores the symphony's extraordinary mix of musical styles and genres, and ties them all together in an exuberant reading that is compelling from beginning to end. Even though this is Mahler's longest symphony, at close to an hour and 40 minutes total, with a first movement that is more than a half-hour long, the performance is so engaging and joyful that time seems to fly by, especially as the mood brightens over the five remaining movements. The sound of this recording is first-rate for a standard CD and approaches the quality of multichannel with its precise details, clear separation of parts, and remarkable physical depth. Highly recommended.

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