“My record of the year is the Czech Philharmonic and its music director Semyon Bychkov’s Mahler Symphony No 5, for an orchestral sound so sumptuous that you could eat it for Christmas dinner. Continuing their cycle of Mahler symphonies, they achieve a fine balance in this visionary work, a musical universe of dreams and prophecies in which Bychkov matches intelligent pacing with great-hearted warmth, and sonic opulence with textural clarity.
The Funeral March shudders and shakes; the sardonic second movement is tumultuous and spacious by turns, and the Scherzo travels an inexorable road from earthy Viennese lilt towards cataclysm. The Adagietto’s tremulous dawning of love melts into perfect bliss at all the right moments; and the finale concludes in roof-busting triumph. Fabulous.“Jessica Duchen
December 12, 2022