Zubin Mehta

Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5

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Zubin Mehta, never the finest of orchestral technicians nor subtlest of interpreters, seems to have lost much of his finesse since his glory days with the Philharmonics of Los Angeles and New York. In his 2008 performance of Mahler's Fifth Symphony with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, his attacks are shaky, his ensemble scrappy, his tempos wayward, and his grasp of form seems to come and go, resulting in a performance that barely seems to know where it's going, much less how to get there. To make matters worse, the members of the Bavarian orchestra play as if they could hardly care less about the music or the conductor, bringing such a relaxed attitude to the symphony that one has to ask why they bothered. Coming after Mehta's magnificent recording of the composer's Second Symphony with the Wiener Philharmoniker, or even his mediocre recording of the Fifth with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, this Fifth sounds so starkly inadequate that it's hard to understand Farao Classics' decision to release it. The super audio sound is stupendously vivid, though.

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