May 16, 2023

Mahler 5 is Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice of the Month

“Rafael Payare and his Montreal Symphony players offer a reading of Mahler’s Fifth of intensity and rich orchestral exploration, a real marker in their ongoing partnership.” 

Mahler Symphony No. 5, performed by Rafael Payare and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, received an outstanding review in the June Issue of Gramophone Magazine!

The sparkiest Mahler of recent years has not come from the usual suspects. Alexandre Bloch’s Orchestre National de Lille immortalised their deft, propulsive Seventh Symphony on the far side of the pandemic (Alpha, 11/20). Now from Francophone Quebec comes a generally upbeat Fifth from Rafael Payare and the Montreal SO. The Venezuelan hornist turned conductor is scarcely unique in touring and now recording one of his party pieces. But Pentatone, the Netherlands-based label with its own old-school, Central European Mahler cycle in train, is taking a long-term punt on the success of this newly established partnership.

Helpful annotations include some observations from the conductor. Rather than dwelling on his time with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra (Payare will have played the symphony a good deal under the comparably dynamic direction of Gustavo Dudamel), he advances his own take on ‘music brimming with exuberant energy, hope and a deep love of life’. This is a Fifth that sparkles and – with all due respect to Cate Blanchett’s Lydia Tár – there will be many more mountains to climb. Recommended.

David Gutman

Read the full review HERE.