January 19, 2016

Classics Today: Mahler Symphony No.4 Review

“This is a lovely performance-sensitive, very well played, shapely and effortless.”

We received a great review about our release of “Gustav Mahler Symphony No.4” with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Elizabeth Watts, conducted by the talented Marc Albrecht, from Classics Today! Read more of this glowing review.

This is a lovely performance–sensitive, very well played, shapely and effortless. Conductor Marc Albrecht makes his points without exaggeration, revealing personal touches in his care for proper observance of Mahler’s dynamics and his concern for textural clarity. Yet the big climaxes in the first movement and Adagio have plenty of impact, and in soprano Elizabeth Watts we have one of the best singers set loose on the tricky finale in many a moon. Anyone familiar with her recent stunning A. Scarlatti recital for Harmonia Mundi will already know what a versatile and vocally alluring treasure she is turning out to be.

This being Mahler, of course, there will always be a criticism here and there. The trio sections of the scherzo might just be a touch too relaxed, and Albrecht’s fondness for portamento could well strike some listeners as excessive, particularly in the Adagio, but these are quibbles. I am less happy with the sonics, which are quite impressive when the music is loud, but lack body at lower dynamic levels, even with the substantial boost in the volume. Still, this small reservation could very easily be a non-issue on your own sound system.

Holland being “Mahler central” some of the idiomatic response to the music was to be expected, but that doesn’t do anything to diminish Albrecht’s sympathetic handling of the score overall. A winner

David Hurwitz