20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
yet another stunning Mahler "Resurrection",
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2, 'Resurrection' (MP3 Music)
The first thing the I noticed on Jurowski's LPO recording of Mahler 2 - aside from the sharp, incisive attack from the strings - is just how greatly improved the acoustics are in London's Royal Festival Hall since its recent make-over. I couldn't believe that this was the same-old RFH! Then the performance itself took over. More on that later.
I'm afraid that Jurowski has started yet another Mahler cycle in London, but to rather great acclaim so far (a recent Mahler 3 from him had everybody jumping out their seats). I've also heard great things about his LPO recording of Tchaikovsky's "Manfred", but have yet to pick that up (a proto-Mahler work if there ever was one!). Thus, this is my first encounter with this fiery, young conductor. Predictably - and rather like the case with Paavo Jarvi - this is a performance of large contrasts between fast and slow sections. But Jurowski gets such passion and commitment out of the LPO that everything hangs together perfectly. My only minor complaint is that it was totally unnecessary to lengthen the second movement - basically an Intermezzo type movement to begin with - to almost 12 minutes duration. But as if to make up for that, Jurowski gives us a scherzo that is so fully characterized that you can literally see and hear St. Anthony preaching to those indifferent fishes who refuse to listen to him (assuming that you already know the Wunderhorn song that this movement is derived from). There's poignancy and irony to-boot. That's followed by a gorgeous account of "Urlicht" from Christianne Stotijn - the same mezzo soprano who did an equally fine job on the recent Haitink/Chicago S.O. recording of Mahler 2. From there, things just get better as the finale is superb.
All of the big climaxes during the fifth movement's march section are as exciting and powerful as one could possibly hope for, and the choral ending is superb. To that end, the LPO use a set of deep bells that sound fully convincing as church bells. There's sufficient organ supporting everybody from below, but a tad more would have been welcomed. Combined with the hugely improved acoustics of RFH (The Barbican pales in comparison), you end up with a Mahler "Resurrection" that's fully competitive with the best of them. Isn't this a lucky time to be a Mahler nut-job? Personally, I think that this is a far better Mahler 2 than the recent issue of Tennstedt's 'live' Mahler 2 - also with the London Phil. - that got so much praise heaped upon it. If nothing else, RFH certainly sounds far better here.