Mariss Jansons

Mahler: Symphony No. 8

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra recorded Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in E flat in 2011, and this 2013 release presents that live rendition in the hybrid SACD format, with bonus audiovisual recordings included, either on DVD or Blu-ray disc. There's a lot to consider about this package, for the "Symphony of a Thousand" can be appreciated as a purely musical experience and as a fascinating concert film, and both media present aspects of the work that add to a deeper understanding of Mahler's achievement. However, this performance lacks the richness of ensemble sound and presence that other multichannel recordings of the Eighth provide, and the audio is similar to a high-quality conventional CD. Jansons gets a satisfying performance from the eight vocal soloists, five choirs, and the orchestra, and his interpretive choices are cautious but adequate to communicate Mahler's expressions. But this thoughtful performance doesn't feel transcendent, and the singing and playing never rise to ecstatic heights. Furthermore, there are sections in Part II where Jansons' exertions are quite noticeable, and this can be distracting to attentive listeners. Considering the increasing number of excellent recordings on the market in this audiophile format, this Eighth is ranked in the second tier and should be heard before purchasing.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 8 in E flat major
1 1:26
2 4:31
3 6:07
4 5:10
5 5:16
6 2:12
7 13:11
8 1:53
9 4:34
10 3:05
11 3:00
12 4:04
13 3:55
14 5:20
15 3:57
16 1:00
17 5:30
18 5:53

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 8 in E flat major
1 1:26
2 4:31
3 6:07
4 5:10
5 5:16
6 2:12
7 13:11
8 1:53
9 4:34
10 3:05
11 3:00
12 4:04
13 3:55
14 5:20
15 3:57
16 1:00
17 5:30
18 5:53
blue highlight denotes track pick