Valery Gergiev

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

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Most years have had their share of interesting Mahler releases, but 2008 counts as a banner year, thanks to the series of Valery Gergiev's live performances on LSO. With a subjective First, a powerful Sixth, and a convincing Seventh, this formidable conductor has given reviewers and listeners a great deal to consider and discuss, often resulting in favorable judgments. For Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor, Gergiev brings his usual elasticity of tempos, highly personal phrasing, and immense drive, but still pulls off a coherent reading of the longest of all the symphonies and the one most prone to mishap. The large-scale structure holds together fairly well and there are only a few places in this reading where interest flags: the weakest moments come on the first disc, in the overly long, episodic, and repetitive first movement, where the faults are obviously compositional. Things pick up on the second disc, from the Tempo di Menuetto onward, and Gergiev is able to build energy through the rest of the movements to achieve a deeply satisfying conclusion in the beatific Finale. Anyone who was expecting formal perfection will not find it in this performance, but the playing by the London Symphony Orchestra is vivid and robust, and alto Anna Larsson, the Tiffin Boys' Choir, and the Ladies of the London Symphony Chorus give the performance a gratifying personal warmth. Unfortunately, the sound of this SACD twofer is a little less vivid and warm, and people accustomed to the format's depth and details will be disappointed that LSO couldn't fully match its reproduction to the performance.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Symphony No. 3 in D minor
1 32:22 Amazon
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