Carl Schuricht

Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Strauss; Eine Alpensinfonie

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When Carl Schuricht led the Stuttgart Radio Sinfonie Orchester in this performance of Mahler's Third Symphony in 1955, there was next to no performance tradition for the work. Outside of the composer's friends, few European conductors performed Mahler before the war. No European conductors were allowed to perform Mahler during the war, and very few European conductors performed Mahler after the war. Of course, Schuricht wasn't entirely alone -- Charles Adler, Jascha Horenstein, and a few others performed the Third and, of course, Schuricht had championed Mahler in his repertoire throughout his career. But Schuricht's conception of the Third is distinctly his own and his interpretation is clearly unlike any other. For one thing, Schuricht's tempos are consistently faster than contemporary performances. In the shorter inner movement, he sails through the nostalgic beauty of Tempo di Menuetto and the evocative posthorn solo in the Scherzando, mitigating the charm of the music. While Schuricht's tempos are only slightly faster in the monumental outer movements, he nevertheless rushes through their enigmatic tremolos and unfathomable fermatas, eliminating the infinite mystery of the music. For another thing, Schuricht makes wholly arbitrary interpretive decisions. In the fifth movement's setting of Es sungen drei Engel, for example, Schuricht imposes enormous ritardandos coupled with gargantuan crescendos in the minor-keyed central section, vitiating the forward motion of the music. For deeply devoted fans of Mahler's music, Schuricht's Third will be possibly fascinating and probably provoking, but for nearly everybody else, it will be of little interest except as a historical footnote. In this 1960 recording of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie with the same orchestra, Schuricht's interpretation is more clearly in the central European Strauss tradition and the performance is clean and straightforward, but not comparable to the opulent Böhm or the sumptuous Kempe. Hänssler's remastered radio sound is harsh, distant, and cold.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 3 in D minor
1 21:12
Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony) for orchestra, Op. 64 (TrV 233)
2 02:41
3 01:26
4 02:09
5 04:41
6 00:39
7 00:15
8 00:48
9 00:50
10 02:08
11 01:30
12 00:59
13 01:41
14 04:10
15 03:22
16 00:19
17 01:01
18 02:07
19 02:37
20 03:57
21 01:33
22 04:53
23 01:34
blue highlight denotes track pick