In a week's time Riccardo Chailly steps down as chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with a performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, which will then be recorded to complete his Mahler cycle for Decca. This very fine account of the Third Symphony shows all the characteristics that have distinguished this important series.
Chailly is an uplifting, finely detailed Mahlerian, never wearing his heart on his sleeve, and the depth of tone the Concertgebouw generates in the great climaxes is breathtaking. The singing is top class too, so that only one performance in the current catalogue outshines this Third - Claudio Abbado's incandescent account, recorded live at the Festival Hall in 1999 by Deutsche Grammophon. No one collecting Chailly's series will be disappointed with this, though.