Vladimir Jurowski / Sofia Fomina / London Philharmonic Orchestra

Mahler: Symphony No. 4

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While Vladimir Jurowski isn't recognized as a Mahler specialist, having recorded only three of the symphonies over the course of a decade, his recording of the Symphony No. 4 in G major may at least indicate an abiding interest in the composer's work, promising more recordings to come. Previously, Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection," and the Symphony No. 1 in D major, released in 2011 and 2013 respectively, and even though these recordings have pleased Jurowski's fans, they didn't raise wider expectations for a great Mahler cycle. This 2016 performance of the Fourth, released on LPO in 2019, is a bit like its predecessors, perhaps too relaxed and subdued to signify deep passions, while the gemütlich interpretation over-emphasizes the symphony's cheerfulness at the expense of its melancholy and macabre aspects. Add to this the shallow sound of the live recording in London's Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall, and it might seem that this presentation is a bit underwhelming and of little interest to Mahler devotees. Yet for its low-key approach, this performance is consistent and unobtrusively controlled within its own modest parameters, and neither Jurowski nor the London Philharmonic Orchestra overdo Mahler's eccentricities, so this is as straightforward a reading of the Fourth as one is likely to find.

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