Hans Vonk

Mahler: Symphony No. 4

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 Review

by James Leonard

This live recording of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra led by the late Hans Vonk is an outstanding Mahler Fourth. There is an easy, affectionate interplay between the American orchestra and the Dutch conductor, and soprano Esther Heideman contributes graceful, unaffected singing in the finale. But Vonk's interpretation of the work is what really makes this recording special. Never a superstar, Vonk was a pure musician who believed the score was best served by letting it speak for itself, and his Fourth rolls out with a naturalness that is moving in its directness. Tempos are neither conspicuously fast or slow, climaxes neither too big nor too small, and developments neither lax nor forced. The sound is slightly thin, but still evocative.

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