Symphony 5 Import
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The Fifth makes exceptional demands on orchestra and conductor alike, and Gatti and the Royal Philharmonic rise handsomely to the occasion in this 1997 recording. The performance is an energetic one, even fierce in places (especially when it comes to tempo), but always under firm control. Gatti, the RPO's music director since 1996, clearly knows the score very well. He elicits an interesting pointing of rhythm from the band, clarifying Mahler's contrapuntal strands and ensuring that the symphony's gigantic climaxes never degenerate into a chaotic welter of sound. His is above all an expressive reading of the score, not merely a literal realization. One feels a presence behind the interpretation, and a definite sensitivity to Mahler's idiom and expressive aim. Owing to the venue, London's Henry Wood Hall, the sound is a bit bright in the loudest passages. --Ted Libbey
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Gatti grabs attention even with the opening notes. The rhythmic snap of the trumpet solo is a little startling at first, but then seems entirely right. And the rest of the performance distinguishes itself with the same combination of deep feeling and fresh perspective. In no way does Gatti short-change the "big moments." Indeed, when the chorale theme swells and ardently blooms at the end of the last movement, it brings as much of a tingle to the spine as one could ever hope to experience.
Gatti is a huge find, a conductor who undoubtedly will be making a name for himself in years to come. I hope he continues to explore the Mahler canon. What do you say, BMG -- how about the Second next?
out the numerous details Mahler specifies in this score, almost to the extent of fastidiousness,
but it is all to the good effect, as the symphony here sounds so richly expressive and
quite individualistic, which fits Mahler to a T to many people including me. The recorded
sound is not, as said by some, "ludicrous" (as exaggerated?) but truly dynamic and
clear to hear. Not the best recording ever of this piece (what is?) but definitely
worth a try, and I am sure I will listen to it again from time to time.
P.S. 2010 -the above review was written when Gatti had peaked, traveling among the major orchestras as a Mahler specialist. His reputation hasn't risen since then, and his tenure at the Royal Phil. wasn't the galvanizing event that it could have been. The problem, I suspect, isn't entirely his. We live in an era where the Mahler Fifth has been recorded more successfully than the Beethoven Fifth. In the Sixties this recording would have seemed astonishing, but today it seems very good but not inspired.
I think it fair to say that this symphony is most famous because of its Adagio which was used unforgettably in the movies and at President Kennedy's funeral. However, the vast majority of the score contains thunderous fortissimos and dynamically stirring allegros - in short, most exciting stuff. And this, Gatti delivers better than anyone else.
WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THIS PERFORMANCE, HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS! - YOU'RE IN FOR A GREAT RIDE. E-TICKET. - BUY IT.