Mariss Jansons / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 9

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Mariss Jansons has recorded Gustav Mahler's symphonies for Simax, LSO Live, and RCO Live, but this 2017 release of the Symphony No. 9 in D major is only his second Mahler recording for BR Klassik, following the 2009 release of the Symphony No. 7. Jansons' commitment to Mahler's music is undeniable, as his specialization in late Romantic repertoire might suggest, but the results of his recorded performances with the Oslo Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra have been somewhat variable, so choosing among them can be difficult. Fortunately, this recording of the Ninth is first-rate, and listeners who have previously felt lukewarm about Jansons' Mahler may have a performance to believe in. Striking a balance between Mahler's extremes of caustic aggression and sublime resignation and creating a coherent whole, Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra perform with clarity and precision, and give the Ninth a consistency that makes musical and expressive sense. Jansons maintains a steady flow between highs and lows, and doesn't push the limits, so his interpretation is less reminiscent of Bernstein and closer to the measured approach of Haitink. The closeness of the recording gives the musicians a chamber-like feeling in many passages, though the microphone placement captures climaxes with stunning sound.

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