This disc will be mandatory for three sets of listeners. It will be mandatory for dedicated fans of Gustav Mahler because it contains recordings of his re-orchestrations of Schumann's Second and Fourth symphonies. Prior to the release of this disc in early 2007, the only recordings available of Mahler's re-orchestrations were the scrappy, sloppy, and soupy performances by Aldo Ceccato with the Bergen Philharmonic, and for dedicated Mahler fans, the chance to hear how their hero transformed Schumann's dense scores into something lighter, clearer, and more colorful will be irresistible. It will be mandatory for dedicated fans of the Gewandhausorchester, the erstwhile Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, because it is one of the first recordings under a new chief conductor, the Italian Riccardo Chailly. Prior to Chailly, the orchestra that was once Mendelssohn's had been run by Kurt Masur and then Herbert Blomstedt, and for dedicated Gewandhaus fans, the chance to hear how Chailly's conducting transformed a weighty Teutonic ensemble into a lighter, clearer, and more colorful international ensemble will be likewise irresistible. And it will be mandatory for dedicated fans of Chailly because it contains further proof of his ability to transform both repertoire and orchestras in his own image, that is, into something lighter, clearer, and more colorful. So while fans of Schumann may object to Mahler's re-orchestrations, fans of Masur may object to Chailly's re-imaginations, and fans of good old-fashioned Teutonic music-making may object to what he's done to the orchestra, listeners who love Mahler, love Chailly, and love the Gewandhausorchester will have to hear this disc. Decca's digital sound is clean, warm, and deep.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
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