Lorin Maazel / Philharmonia Orchestra

Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 4-6

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Released in 2014, these recordings of Gustav Mahler's middle symphonies, performed by Loren Maazel and the Philharmonia Orchestra, have been put together as a set, in the same cardboard slip-cover packaging as the first three symphonies, issued by Signum Classics in 2013. These are live performances, recorded in London's Royal Festival Hall, and the experienced listener will likely guess that they are a mixed lot that requires some sampling prior to purchase. Maazel has been variable in his Mahler recordings over the years, sometimes hitting high points, as he does in his exciting rendition of the Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic," and at other times having some near misses, as he does in his somewhat less compelling readings of the Symphony No. 4 in G major and the Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor, which seem heavy and uninspired. But perhaps worse than the vagaries of interpretations is the concert sound, which ranges from extremely close-up and detailed to thick and murky, with noticeable imbalances between the sections, as if the orchestra was unevenly miked. While these are above average performances with interesting aspects, they face serious competition from many great performances that are readily available, so these CDs are perhaps of greatest interest to Mahler aficionados or fans of Maazel, rather than first-time listeners.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 6
1 25:56
blue highlight denotes track pick